A risk-based approach
The CST uses an HPV DNA test to detect the presence of oncogenic HPV types known to be associated with a higher risk of developing significant cervical abnormalities. The HPV test is more sensitive than cytology, so it can be performed less frequently.
Asymptomatic women who test negative for oncogenic HPV are at low risk of developing cervical cancer and only need to be screened every 5 years.
Asymptomatic women who test positive for oncogenic HPV will have a liquid-based cytology (LBC) test performed on the same sample (reflex LBC) and will be assessed as either intermediate risk and advised to return for further testing in 12 months, or higher risk and referred for colposcopy.
Symptomatic women and those with a history of high-grade cervical pathology will have both an HPV and LBC test (Co-test) performed,regardless of their HPV result.
Women with special circumstances identified by the program may be offered more frequent screening or a single screening test prior to age 25.
In order to help you better understand the Cervical Screening Test (CST), we have created a range of resources that are available to be downloaded using the links below.