Cervical Screening (Pap Smear) Program Changes

September 22, 2016


The current recommendation from the National Cervical Screening Program is that all women aged 18-70 who have ever been sexually active have a cervical smear test (Pap test) every 2 years. The good news is that from May 2017 this is going to be replaced by a 5 yearly Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) test. This is because most cervical cancers are caused by HPV (although the vast majority of women with HPV will not get cervical cancer).


The current 2 yearly Pap testing has been very effective reducing the rate of cervical cancer by about 50% and it is important that women continue with this until the switch is made next year.


As not all strains of HPV are included in the HPV vaccine (Gardasil), women who have been vaccinated will still need to have the test.

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