Cervical Screening Test (previously Pap Smear)
Pap smear has been replaced by a similar procedure, called the Cervical Screening Test done every 5 years instead of every 2 years. And rather than starting screening at 18, women can now start screening at 25 years old. This test looks and feels like a Pap smear, with a doctor collecting a sample of cells from the cervix using a small brush.
The Cervical Screening Test is more accurate than the Pap smear because it detects the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection that causes most cases of cervical cancer. It is not a test for cancer.
All women aged 25 and over who have ever been sexually active — even just once — will be due for their first Cervical Screening Test 2 years after their last Pap smear. You will still need a Cervical Screening Test even if you have been vaccinated against HPV.
Read more about the changes to the National Cervical Screening Program.