Women who want to know whether they are carrying the human papillomavirus (HPV), certain strains of which can cause cervical cancer, can now be tested at their local BMI Healthcare hospital.
Routine smear tests offered by the NHS check for cervical abnormalities that may be due to HPV, but they do not test for the virus itself.
However, BMI Healthcare offers a test for the virus for women who have been sexually active - 80 per cent of whom are likely to have become infected with HPV by the age of 50.
Amanda Britton, a GP who holds a clinic at BMI The Hampshire Clinic, explained that females up to the age of 25 can benefit from a vaccine against HPV as long as they are not already carrying the virus.
"Those who have been sexually active can have a simple test, like a smear, to see if they are carrying the virus, and can also be considered for vaccination if negative," she revealed.
"Those wishing to be tested for HPV can do so by attending their local BMI Healthcare hospital."