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National Cervical Screening Program

About the program

The National Cervical Screening Program aims to reduce illness and deaths from cervical cancer by encouraging women and people with a cervix, aged 25-74, who have ever been sexually active to have regular cervical screening.

The 5 yearly cervical screening test detects human papillomavirus (HPV), a virus that can cause changes in the cells of the cervix. Recent evidence demonstrates a cervical screening test using a self-collected vaginal sample is as accurate as a clinician-collected sample taken from the cervix during a speculum examination.

Women and people are invited to start cervical screening from the age of 25 and continue screening until they are 74.

Visit the Department of Health and Aged Care's website for further information on the National Cervical Screening Program.

Cervical self-collection

From 1 July 2022, the National Cervical Screening Program started offering self-collection as a choice to all people eligible to participate in cervical screening. This includes any women and people with a cervix aged beween 25 and 74 who have ever been sexually active, even if they are already vaccinated against HPV.

Testing under 25 years old

As cervical cancer is rare in the under 25 years age group and most common infections or abnormalities usually go away by themselves, it is considered safe for people to wait until the age of 25 to have their first cervical screening test. Health professionals should use normal clinical judgement and processes to determine if a test is required.

National Cancer Screening Register

Complete cervical screening histories are available from the National Cancer Screening Register.

Fine out further information on the register, including how to gain access:

The Register can also be contacted by calling 1800 627 701 on business days between 8am and 6pm.

Last updated: 1 August 2022