Skip links and keyboard navigation

Cervical self-collection eligibility expansion - National Cervical Screening Program

From 1 July 2022, the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) will expand screening test options, offering self-collection as a choice to all people eligible to participate in cervical screening. This includes any person with a cervix aged between 25 and 74 who has ever been sexually active, even if they are already vaccinated against HPV.

This expands the current eligibility criteria from only those aged 30 years or older who are more than two years overdue for screening or who have never screened.

For healthcare professionals

General practitioners (GPs) and other healthcare providers continue to play a pivotal role in the monitoring and early detection of cancers and consumers’ overall sexual health and safety.

There is now strong evidence to support self-collection, with research showing self-collected vaginal samples (taken from the vagina, not the cervix) and clinician-collected cervical samples have equivalent sensitivity when using a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)-based HPV test for asymptomatic cervical screening participants. Unsatisfactory HPV samples (from self-collected samples) are estimated to be under 2.6 per cent which is within the acceptable range.

Limitations of self-collection

Self-collection is only recommended for testing for HPV; it is not recommended in women with symptoms of cervical cancer such as abnormal bleeding or dyspareunia. Patients with symptoms that could indicate cervical abnormalities or cancer continue to require diagnostic testing and should be managed in accordance with the National Cervical Screening Program Guidelines. For more information download our factsheet .

Supporting patients to self-collect

Self-collection kits can only be accessed from a health professional.

A consultation with those eligible for cervical screening presents an ideal opportunity to outline all of the screening options available:

  • self-collected vaginal sample
  • clinician-collected cervical sample
  • clinician-assisted self-collection.

Where self-collection is chosen, health professionals can use the time saved to discuss sexual health, post self-collection follow up and other health matters.

To support the changes to self-collection, Queensland Health has developed a toolkit including:

Additional resources and training materials will be available via the National Cervical Screening Program website.

More information

Last updated: 2 June 2022