When you book your appointment, please avoid making it for when you are menstruating, as we cannot perform a thorough evaluation if you are bleeding.
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• New program – from 1 December 2017 the Pap Test program for preventing cervical cancer has changed to a new Cervical Screening Test.
• HPV testing – the new test is a simple procedure to check the health of the cervix. Having the new test will feel the same as having the Pap test. It still requires a vaginal speculum examination. However, the laboratory will test for the human papilloma virus (HPV) rather than looking for cervical cell changes, as the first line test.
• More accurate – The testing is being changed as it is thought to be more accurate for the prevention of cervical cancer, expecting to protect up to 30% more women. HPV is important as if it is not cleared it can cause cervical cell changes, which in very rare cases may develop into a cancer. This process usually takes 10-15 years.
• When? – Women (25-74 years) who have previously had a normal Pap test, will be invited to have the new Cervical screening test 2 years after their last pap smear. Any woman turning 25 should attend for testing. Any woman over 25 years who has never had a pap smear should also attend for testing. Even if you have had the HPV vaccine you still require cervical testing. Any symptoms such as abnormal vaginal bleeding (particularly after sexual intercourse), pelvic pain or abnormal vaginal discharge require medical review.
• How often? – The good news is that if you have normal Cervical Screening Test results you will only need to have your next test in five years, instead of every two years.
For more information please visit the Australian Government Department of Health website: