Cervical Screening Test

Cervical Screening Test

In December 2017, the Cervical Screening Test replaced the Pap test in Australia.

  • The Cervical Screening Test is more effective than the Pap test at preventing cervical cancers
  • If your result is ‘normal’ you can wait 5 years for your next Cervical Screening Test
  • Tests commence from 25 years of age (rather than 18 yrs old) and continue to the age of 74
  • The test is a simple procedure taking only a few minutes, and feels the same as the previous Pap test

The new screening program is designed to work together with the HPV (Gardasil 9) vaccination program, to help reduce the incidence of cervical cancer.

How does the Cervical Screening Test work?

Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. Routine cervical screening is your best protection against cervical cancer.

The Cervical Screening Test is more effective than the Pap test at preventing cervical cancers because it detects the human papillomavirus (HPV).

HPV is a common infection and is the virus that causes 99% of cervical cancers. HPV causes cervical cell changes that may lead to cervical cancer.

While the Pap test looked for pre-cancerous changes in cells that can occur because of the HPV virus ‘abnormal cells’, the Cervical Screening Test assesses the step before this and tests for the presence of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

It is a more accurate test and can detect potential problems earlier as cells may not become abnormal until many years after initial infection with HPV.

When do you need a Cervical Screening Test?

Evidence suggests that screening for HPV every 5 years is more effective, and just as safe as screening with a Pap test every 2 years.

Women aged 25-74 years with a normal screening history should have their first Cervical Screening Test 2 years after their last Pap test.

If you are due for testing, contact your healthcare provider to book an appointment.

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.

Further Information on Cervical Screening


Under national legislation the Queensland Health Pap Smear Register has transitioned its data and reminder/follow up functions to the National Cancer Screening Register. This means that complete cervical screening histories will be available from the National Cancer Screening Register – please call 1800 627 701 on business days 8am-6pm.


If you’re not up to date with your Cervical Screening book an appointment with one of our GP’s today. Alternatively, contact our Reception team to find out when our next quarterly Pap Smear clinic will be held.