Instruction Guide for Self-collect (How to take your own sample for a HPV Test)

A factsheet on Self-collection instructions to be provided by healthcare providers during a consultation

Page last updated: 05 June 2020 (this page is generated automatically and reflects updates to other content within the website)

PDF version: Instruction Guide for Self-collect (How to take your own sample for a HPV Test) (PDF 299 KB)

Self-collection of vaginal samples for human papillomavirus (HPV) is now available under the renewed National Cervical Screening Program. The service, however, is yet to be available across all pathology laboratories. The provision of self-collection services requires the laboratory and platform testing processes and equipment to attain the various accreditation requirements, including those of TGA and NATA. The Department of Health advise healthcare providers to check with their pathology laboratory on availability of the service, before offering self-collection as an option to their patients.

How to take your own sample for a HPV test

Self-collection instructions

To be provided only by a healthcare provider during a consultation

Self-collection is to be completed in a health care setting, behind a screen or in the privacy of a bathroom or toilet. Ask your healthcare provider for help if you are having difficulty with taking the sample, or if you would like them to explain these instructions further.

To collect your own sample, follow these instructions.

The image shows Tip A asnd Tip B[

1. Before starting

Your healthcare provider will give you a package. Inside is a swab.

Your swab may look different to those pictured here.

Before you open the package, make sure you know which end of the swab can be held (Tip A), and which end is for taking the sample (Tip B). If you are unsure which end is which, ask your healthcare provider for advice.

Before taking the sample make sure your hands are clean and dry.

Make sure you are in a comfortable position and your underwear is lowered.

This image shows how to twist the cap and removed the swab

2. Preparing the swab

Twist the cap and remove the swab from the packaging.

Make sure not to touch Tip B that will be inserted to collect the sample.

Do not put the swab down.

This image shows how to insert the swab and taking the sample

3. Inserting the swab

Use your free hand to move skin folds at the entrance of your vagina. Gently insert Tip B into your vagina (similar to inserting a tampon).

The swab may have a line or mark on it showing you how far to insert.

4. Taking the sample

Rotate the swab gently for 10–30 seconds; this should not hurt, but may feel a bit uncomfortable.

This image shows how to store the sampel and send it

5. Storing the sample

Still holding Tip A, gently remove the swab from your vagina.

Place the swab back into the packaging with Tip B going in first.

Screw the cap back on and return the package to your healthcare provider.

6. Sending the sample

The sample will be sent to a pathology laboratory for HPV testing.

The results of the test will be sent to your healthcare provider.

What if…?

What if I touched Tip B/the swab with my fingers by mistake?
Please continue to take the sample.
What if I dropped Tip B or the swab on a dry surface?
Please continue to take the sample.
What if I dropped Tip B/the swab on a wet surface?
Let your healthcare provider know and ask them for a new swab kit.

Please note if HPV is detected, you will need to return to your healthcare provider for a clinician-collected sample and appropriate management.