Human papillomavirus and hepatitis C virus unit (HPHCU): reference services

HPHCU provides specialist reference and translational research of genital human papillomavirus (HPV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV).

HPHCU is part of Public Health England’s virus reference department (VRD).

HPHCU works primarily on human papillomaviruses (HPV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and also hosts a modern imaging facility to provide electron and confocal microscopy. HPHCU is the home of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Laboratory Diagnosis and Support.

Services available


HPHCU contributes to national sexually transmitted infection surveillance programmes designed to monitor the impact of the HPV vaccines on the UK population. The unit also undertake studies to understand the immune responses generated following HPV vaccination and those generated during natural infection.

The unit does not offer a diagnostic service for HPV infection.


HPHCU is involved in developing and validating novel serological and molecular tests for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses, including tests on oral fluid and dried blood spot samples. These are generally being applied in the context of enhanced surveillance of blood borne virus infections. The application of these methods to diagnostic screening is currently by special arrangement only. Contact the unit for details.

Electron and confocal microscopy

HPHCU has a modern ultrastructural imaging facility with a 120kV high-contrast, transmission electron microscope (EM) and a state-of-the-art laser scanning confocal microscope. The facility provides a diagnostic service to the NHS for orf and molluscum contagiosum viruses using negative stain EM and also supports the research and development activities of Public Health England scientists.

HPHCU guidance and forms

Contact HPHCU

Human papillomavirus and hepatitis C virus unit (HPHCU)

Public Health England
61 Colindale Avenue