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FAQ: I heard that the Pap test is changing. What do I need to know?

Posted by Shannon, July 2014

You heard correctly. The National Cervical Screening Program guidelines and recommendations for cervical screening are currently under review.

As part of this process, the Medical Services Advisory Committee has recommended the Federal Government consider new cervical screening guidelines.

These guidelines include:

  • replacing the Pap test with a new, more effective cervical screening test – the HPV test
  • increasing the recommended age that women commence cervical screening 
  • changing the frequency of cervical screening.

The new guidelines will bring Australia into line with international recommendations and will help save even more lives.

However, the new guidelines are still under the review process, and if approved, are not likely to be in place until 2016 or later, so for now women aged 18 to 70 who have ever been sexually active should continue having Pap tests every two years as per current recommendations.

Read more about what the recommended cervical screening changes mean for Australian women on the Cancer Council Australia blog.

For full details of the proposed recommendations and the renewal process, visit the National Cervical Screening Program website.

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