Changes to the National Cervical Screening Program

You may have heard that there are changes coming to the National Cervical Screening Program. From 1 December, 2017, the two yearly Pap smear for women aged 18 to 69 will change to a five yearly human papillomavirus (HPV) cervical screening test.”. 

The changes include:

  • women will be invited when they are due to participate via the Cervical Screening Register (this will be two years after their last Pap smear)
  • the Pap smear will be replaced with the more accurate Cervical Screening Test
  • the time between tests will change from two to five years
  • the age at which screening starts will increase from 18 years to 25 years
  • women aged 70 to 74 years will be invited to have an exit test.
  • women of any age who have symptoms such as unusual bleeding, discharge and pain should see their health care professional immediately.

HPV vaccinated women still require cervical screening as the HPV vaccine does not protect against all the types of HPV that cause cervical cancer.

Please note: Until the changes come into effect, all women aged between 18 and 69 years who have ever been sexually active should continue to have a Pap smear when due, and talk to their doctor or health care professional if they have any questions.

It is important to remember that the renewed National Cervical Screening Program is evidence-based and a good news story for women across Australia. Experts anticipate that the new program will protect up to 30% more women from cervical cancer.

Changes to the Cervical Screening Program from 1 December 2017 - Infographic

Changes to the Cervical Screening Program 2017 infographic small

For further information about the changes please read the frequently asked questions page

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