The cervical screening test is a new, more accurate way of protecting women against cervical cancer. It was introduced in Australia in December 2017, and is expected to protect almost one third more women from cervical cancer than the old Pap test.
The Pap test used to look for changes in the cells of the cervix, the entrance to the uterus (womb) from the vagina. Now the cervical screening test looks for evidence of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can lead to cell changes in the cervix.
The cervical screening test looks and feels the same as the Pap test. But it is only done every 5 years instead of every 2 years, if your results are normal.
From 1 July 2022, the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) has expanded screening test options, offering self-collection as a choice to all people participating in cervical screening.
Self-collection allows eligible patients to have the option to take their own vaginal sample for HPV testing, removing a significant barrier to participation.
If you are a woman aged 25 to 74, you should have your first cervical screening test 2 years after your last Pap test.