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Cervical Screening Update: What you need to know

Cervical cancer is caused by certain types of the HPV, and it is one of the most preventable cancers. From September 2023, the main test for cervical screening has changed to a human papillomavirus (HPV) test.

This test replaces a cervical smear test for most people. This means for most people, a simple vaginal swab can be taken and tested for HPV. The swab can be done by a nurse, a doctor, or you can choose to take the sample yourself. You will still need to book in with a nurse so they can provide you with guidance regarding the swab, and to determine if you are suitable for a self-swab.

If you’re aged between 25 and 69, and you have a cervix, you need to have an HPV screen at least every five years. Regular screening is important to reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer.

If HPV is found in your sample, it doesn’t mean you have cervical cancer. Most HPV infections resolve on their own. If the virus is found, you will be reviewed to see if there are any cell changes on your cervix.

Free HPV and cervical screening is available to all women and whānau with a cervix aged 25-69 years.