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Pap smears

2-minute read

Changes to cervical screening

From 1 December 2017 the National Cervical Screening Program will change to improve early detection. The current 2 yearly Pap test for women aged 18 to 69 will change to a 5 yearly HPV test for women aged 25 to 74 called a Cervical Screening Test. This test is more accurate.

You still need a Cervical Screening Test even if you have been vaccinated against HPV.

See your doctor if you have any symptoms such as unusual bleeding, discharge or pain.

When will I be due for my first HPV test?
Women will be due for the first HPV test 2 years after their last Pap test.

More information

Read more about changes to National Cervical Screening Program

The Cervical Screening Test detects the human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which is the first step in developing cervical cancer. It is not a test for cancer.

It is done in the same way as a Pap smear. A small sample of cells is taken from the woman’s cervix.

Cells can change and become abnormal if a woman is exposed to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). This is a very common virus that is spread through direct skin to skin contact (which often occurs during sex). The majority of people carry the virus only.

There are many different strains of HPV (over 100), but only a few of these may go on to cause cancer. The other types usually go undetected or occasionally cause genital warts in some people.

If the results of your cervical screening come back as abnormal, further testing will be done on the sample your doctor collected to look at the cells in the sample. If these are abnormal, or if you have a high risk strain of HPV present, your doctor will refer you to a specialist or a specialist clinic for more detailed examination and testing of your cervix.

Pap smears can be performed by your doctor.

Watch this video to learn more about cervical screening.

Last reviewed: August 2017

Need more information?

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Found 133 results

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Cervical Screening Test

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Cervical Screening Registry

Cervical cytology registers operate in all states and territories in Australia to deliver an organised approach to cervical screening.

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Changes to the National Cervical Screening Program

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Where can I have a Cervical Screening Test?

A list of services in WA that provide cervical screening.

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RANZCOG WEBSITE - Cervical Screening in Australia

In the past, it was recommended that sexually active womenhave Pap smear tests every two years

Read more on RANZCOG - Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists website

Comfort Checklist - your checklist to ensure your comfort in a screening

The ACCF Comfort Checklist - For a more comfortable cervical screening experience. ACCF has developed a new woman-focused comfort checklist for cervical screening.

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Cervical Screening Test results - what do they mean? :: SA Health

Not sure what a high risk Cervical Screening Test result means? Here we explain the types of results and what it means for you

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Cervical screening (Pap smear) and prevention | Health and wellbeing | Queensland Government

Regular cervical screening via a Pap smear is the best way to prevent cervical cancer as it can detect changes to the cells of the cervix that can be treated before cancer develops. In Queensland, the Queensland Health Pap Smear Register will send you a reminder notice when you are overdue for a Pap smear as well as providing access to your Pap smear result history for your doctor or pathology laboratory.

Read more on Queensland Health website

Women's health - NT.GOV.AU

General information about women's health, bacterial vaginosis, thrush, pelvic inflammatory disease and cervical screening.

Read more on NT Health website

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