This tampon can detect HPV

Many women are unknowingly infected with human papillomavirus, or HPV. The virus is easy to detect, for example through a swab test at a GP. But conducting such a smear is not the most pleasant activity. For those who’ve always feared it, there’s now good news: You’ll soon be able to detect HPV more easily, at home, with a tampon.

Every year, about 900 people in the Netherlands are diagnosed with cervical cancer, a type of cancer caused by long-term infection with the human papillomavirus. Almost every sexually active person gets this virus at some point, because it is highly contagious, but your body usually resolves this problem on its own.

Preventing or early detection of HPV

However, it is important to prevent as many infections as possible or detect them early. The virus not only causes cervical cancer, but can also lead to throat or anal cancer. For this reason, the HPV vaccination campaign in the Netherlands continues until July 1, and you can detect the virus early through population-based screening for cervical cancer using a self-sampling test or a smear test.

But not all women benefit from these options. For example, population survey figures in the Netherlands show that less than half of invited women actually participate in the survey. In 2022, more than 720,000 women were invited, but the study included only 331,000 participants.

A tampon that can detect HPV

British gynecology brand Daye has come up with a solution: the HPV test tampon. The plug can be inserted at home and the cells collected. You can then send the used tampon to a laboratory, where it will be tested for HPV. You will receive the results within five to ten days.

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“We want to encourage people to get proactively tested for HPV,” says Valentina Milanova, founder of Day. UK Metro. She hopes that thanks to special tampons, people will gain more control over their health. According to Milanova, this is not always the case because current testing options deter many people. “Some people find appointments painful and others find it uncomfortable to have to lie partially naked in front of the doctor.”

The special tampon is currently only available in England and the US, but that should change soon. The intention is that the tampon will soon also be available in countries within the European Union.

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Megan Vasquez

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