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Cervical screening test

IMPORTANT UPDATE: From 1 July 2022, all patients due for their 5-yearly cervical screening test will now be eligible for self-collection. For further information please click here.


  • On December 1, 2017, the Cervical Screening Test (CST) replaced the Pap test.

  • Medicare-funded routine CSTs are available to patients aged 24 years and 9 months to 74 years (once in a 57-month period).

  • Specimens need to be collected by clinicians into ThinPrep® vials.

  • Request forms must specify the requested test PLUS the reason for test PLUS supporting clinical notes.

For further information on the Cervical Screening program, please contact GynaePath on (02) 9855 6200.

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 patients who test negative for oncogenic HPV are at low risk of developing cervical cancer and only need to be screened every 5 years.

  • Asymptomatic patients 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 patients 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.

  • Patients with special circumstances identified by the program may be offered more frequent screening or a single screening test prior to age 25.