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In Canada we do not currently have any routine testing for HPV.
The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a virus that is passed through skin-to-skin contact. There are hundreds of different strains of HPV, and anyone who has been sexually active will likely carry one or more of these strains. Most of the strains are not dangerous, and most people who carry them won’t develop symptoms.
Some of the strains of HPV can cause genital warts and after being exposed to the virus someone might develop warts on their genitals. These warts are diagnosed as “HPV” by visual assessment by a doctor or nurse, they are not diagnosed through a test. These warts usually go away on their own in 1-2 years, and there is treatment that makes them go away sooner if desired.
Other stains of HPV do not cause genital warts, but they can cause an increased risk for cancer. The strains that can be risky for cancer are always invisible, and you can’t see by looking at person if they have it or not. Women over age 25 are encouraged to go for the 3-year PAP test to check for the pre-cancerous kinds, but no other precautions are recommended.
I am not sure if your girlfriend is concerned about genital warts or cancer, but it might be worth having a look at our HPV information page together. Condoms can certainly reduce the likelihood of passing HPV between partners, but because condoms don’t cover all skin they’re not a 100% guarantee.
Generally when people ask their partner to get tested for STIs they mean: Chalmydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and HIV. If you need help finding an STI clinic near you check-out our Clinic Finder.
Hope this helps. Please let us know if you have any more questions.
This answer was posted on September 13, 2017