Changes are afoot for Cervical Screening

From the 12th September 2023, the HPV test will become the primary cervical screening test. For most people, who meet the criteria for screening, the screening interval will increase from 3 to 5 years.  

Screening options will change to include: 

  • An HPV vaginal swab test, either self-testing or with assistance from a clinician; OR
  • A clinician-taken cervical specimen (previously referred to as a smear test), which will be tested for HPV. If HPV is detected, cytology will be processed automatically without the person needing to return for another test. 

Free cervical screening for the priority participant groups. These include:

  • Community service card holders
  • Maori & Pacific
  • Those 30 years+ who are unscreened as well as those who are under-screened (identified as those who have not had a cytology test in the past 5 years)
  • Anyone requiring follow-up

Why are the changes happening?

HPV testing is highly sensitive & accurate. Around 10% of women screened will be identified as having HPV, increasing their risk of developing precancerous cervical cell changes. This earlier detection will lead to more timely treatment options & therefore improved outcomes. 

Please contact our nursing team if you have any questions about how the changes may be affect you.