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First HPV home test available in the UK

The new test could potentially reduce the number of people needing painful pap smear tests

A new test which can help test for high-risk strains of HPV in women from the comfort of their homes is now available in the UK.

The cervical screening tampon designed by gynaecological start-up Daye tests for 14 high-risk strains of HPV. 

Valentina Milanova, founder and CEO of Daye said: ‘By utilising the familiar tampon, this hassle-free HPV testing kit is extremely easy and comfortable to use, and we hope this will lead to more patients taking control over their long-term health and fertility.’

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Cervical cancer is a cancer that is found anywhere in the cervix. Nearly all cervical cancer cases (99.8%) are caused by persistent high-risk HPV infections, which can impact fertility and cause oral cancer.

Diagnosing cancer-causing HPV strains at an early age could help to save lives. But according to the NHS, around a third of women in the UK miss their smear tests each year due to pain, embarrassment and fear.

The tampon aims to be more comfortable and accessible than traditional screening methods. Used just like a normal tampon, it must be worn for at least 20 minutes to get an accurate reading.

The HPV diagnostic tampon collects more vaginal fluid than a standard swab and covers a larger surface area, making it more accurate and more comfortable than a speculum. Results are available in 10-15 working days and can be taken to a GP if needed.

The UK has pledged to end cervical cancer by 2040, and Milanova hopes the tampon kits will help contribute to that goal as part of the NHS Accelerator for Innovation.

Milanova said: ‘Eliminating cervical cancer by 2040 requires a joined-up approach of vaccination, screening and testing, and we hope the at-home test will encourage more women and AFAB (assigned female at birth) individuals to proactively test for HPV.’