The Department of Health is closely monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health services. COVID-19 may be impacting your usual GP or cervical testing provider, so if you have received a reminder about cervical screening and you have any questions, please call your doctor or health care provider to talk about your circumstances. More information on COVID-19 is available through the Department of Health website or through the COVID-19 hotline on 1800 020 080.
More accurate. Less often.
In December 2017, the Cervical Screening Test replaced the Pap test in Australia.
Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. Routine cervical screening is your best protection against cervical cancer. The Cervical Screening Test is expected to protect up to 30% more women.
The Cervical Screening Test is more effective than the Pap test at preventing cervical cancers, because it detects the human papillomavirus (known as HPV), whereas the Pap test looked for cell changes in the cervix. HPV is a common infection that can cause cervical cell changes that may lead to cervical cancer.
The Cervical Screening Test is more effective than the Pap test at preventing cervical cancers, and is just as safe to be done every five years instead of every two.
The test is a simple procedure to check the health of your cervix. It feels the same as the Pap test, but tests for the human papillomavirus (known as HPV). For most women aged 25 to 74, your first Cervical Screening Test is due two years after your last Pap test. After that, you will only need to have the test every five years if your result is normal.
If you are due for testing, contact your healthcare provider to book an appointment. For more information about the National Cervical Screening Program call 13 15 56.
If at any age you have symptoms, such as unusual vaginal bleeding, discharge or pain during sex, you should see your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
The National Cervical Screening Program
The two yearly Pap test for people aged 18 to 69 has been replaced by a five yearly human papillomavirus (HPV) test for people aged 25 to 74. People are due for their first Cervical Screening Test at the age of 25 or two years after their last Pap test. The changes include:
- a more accurate Cervical Screening Test has replaced the Pap test
- the time between tests has changed from two to five years
- the age at which screening starts has increased from 18 years to 25 years, or two years after the last Pap test if the Pap test was done at the age of 23 or over
- people aged 70 to 74 years will be invited to have a Cervical Screening Test.
More information on the National Cervical Screening Program is available on our FAQ page