Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted infection that may not have symptoms. Early detection can help you stay healthy.

Quick look at the best at-home HPV tests

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). It’s also one that can go unnoticed, as it often doesn’t show symptoms.

Though the immune system often clears the virus on its own, certain strains of HPV can cause genital warts, cervical cancer, and other types of cancer. Early detection through testing can help prevent health concerns.

At-home HPV tests allow you to test often and easily. They’re also confidential and may be less costly than testing at a doctor’s office. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not yet approved at-home HPV tests, although there is growing interest in their availability.

Read on to learn about HPV testing and what an at-home test can offer you.

Healthline’s picks for at-home HPV tests

How we chose the best at-home HPV tests

We carefully review products before we recommend them to make sure they meet high standards for medical credibility, good business practices, privacy practices and security, and social impact. Specific to at-home STI tests, we further consider:

  • Methods used for collection: Test collection methods may involve saliva, urine, or blood through a finger-prick.
  • Speed of results: You may need to wait longer than a week for some options. We prioritize tests that return results in a few days. 
  • Lab certification: Opting for labs with CLIA certification helps ensure reliable results.
  • Ease of purchasing: It’s important that navigating the website is easy, and buying tests is straightforward.
  • Cost: Testing kits shouldn’t break the bank. We include tests at a range of price points.
  • Reviews: We look at what users had to say about the tests and include options where most people were happy with their experience.

At-home HPV tests compared

PriceResults inFollow-up support
Everlywell HPV Test — Female$69several daysyes, if positive
myLAB Box Home HPV Test Kit  $892–5 daysyes
NURX Home HPV Test Kit$79 without insuranceseveral daysyes, for an additional fee
TBD Health HPV Test (Vagina Havers)$125 without subscription 3–5 daysyes

Who needs HPV testing?

Updated guidelines from the American Cancer Society recommend people with a cervix who are at average risk begin HPV screening at age 25 and continue testing every 5 years until the age of 65.

Prior to age 25, although exposure to HPV is common, the risk of adverse health outcomes is low, as the immune system most often clears the infection within a few years.

Higher risk individuals who may want to test more frequently include:

  • people with weakened immune systems
  • people who smoke or who are exposed to secondhand smoke
  • those who take oral contraceptives, or who have had multiple children
  • people with obesity

As most commercial HPV tests require cervical or vaginal swabbing, males are unable to use them. However, some tests use a urine sample instead of a cervical swab.

However, if you’re sexually active and have multiple partners, or have a partner who has HPV, you may want to speak with a doctor about testing.

How does HPV screening work?

Screening for HPV may include an HPV test, which checks for evidence of infection, or a Pap test (or Pap smear), which looks for abnormal cell changes caused by HPV.

While both tests are done in the same way — by taking a sample of cells from the cervix — HPV testing is considered more accurate, although there is some debate about this.

The current guidelines recommend HPV tests administered by a physician, but there is growing interest in self-collection HPV tests, like the at-home tests on our list.

These tests have been found to reduce the occurrence of cancer in people who live in underserved areas where getting to a medical facility may be challenging. It’s important to know, however, that none of these tests have been approved by the FDA.

How to use an at-home HPV test

At-home HPV test kits are simple to use and offer clear instructions. You can also watch video tutorials and find other information on brand websites.

  1. Collect your sample by inserting the swab into your vagina and swiping in a circular motion for 30 seconds.
  2. Place the swab inside the provided tube and close firmly.
  3. Place the tube inside the provided collection bag.
  4. Put the collection bag inside the prepaid shipping envelope, and mail it in.
  5. Your results will be available online with a few days. If your test results are negative, this means you don’t have an active HPV infection. If your test results are positive, that means you have an active HPV infection.

At this time, at-home HPV testing doesn’t identify low risk HPV strains, including the ones that cause genital warts.

When to speak with a doctor

It’s important to let your doctor know if you get a positive test result. Keep in mind that a positive test doesn’t mean you have cancer. It means you have an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer, including cervical cancer.

It’s also worth noting that while at-home HPV testing is beneficial as an added precaution, it doesn’t take the place of regular gynecological exams.

Frequently asked questions

Yes. The at-home HPV test kits on our list have been carefully vetted and can be performed in the privacy and comfort of your home.

The manufacturers of HPV tests typically say that their results have an accuracy of 99% or greater. But human error during testing that affects test results is possible. Because of this, more research is needed to see if home tests can be trusted.

Timing is also important. Some tests require you to send samples back on specific days. Mailing your sample on the wrong day might cause delays in shipping that can diminish your sample’s potency.

HPV test kits allow you to test yourself at home without needing to schedule an appointment. Some tests provide instructions about testing after menstruation and sexual activity.

Not following these directions exactly may skew test results and give you either a false positive or false negative.

The bottom line

At-home HPV tests are beneficial for identifying HPV infection caused by high risk strains, including those that cause cervical cancer.

At-home testing is confidential, less intrusive, and may be less expensive than testing in a doctor’s office.

It’s important to keep in mind that at-home HPV tests have not yet been approved by the FDA.

If you do decide to take an at-home test and get a positive result, talk with a healthcare professional to discuss follow-ups, treatment, and another test if necessary.