HPV can lie dormant (sleeping) in our bodies for many years and may never cause any cell changes. If it is found on a cervical screening test, we cannot say how long it has been there. Some people may never get rid of it.
We know that suddenly finding out you have HPV now can cause some people to worry about their partners. It is important to know that the virus can stay for many years and never cause any problems for either partner.
The virus might cause cell changes many years later. This is why it is important to keep going for screening when you are invited, even if your tests have always been normal.