Anyone who is eligible for a Cervical Screening Test can now choose between self-collection or having a sample collected by a healthcare provider.
From 1 July 2022, all Australian women and people with a cervix will be able to choose self-collection.
Self-collection is when a woman or person with a cervix takes their own vaginal sample for cervical screening. It is taken with a cotton swab and without a speculum. You will be given instructions on how to collect the sample and offered a private place collect the sample. The test is just as effective at detecting HPV and preventing cervical cancer.
You can access self-collection anywhere that you would normally have a Cervical Screening Test, such as a GP clinic or women’s health clinic. When making your appointment, is recommended that you ask if the self-collection option is available at the clinic.
Some people may not be eligible for self-collection, such as those with a previous history of an abnormal test results, or people who are experiencing symptoms. Speak with your GP, nurse or Aboriginal Health Worker to confirm if self-collection is right for you.
Cervical Self-collection FAQs
If you think you might be eligible for self-collection speak to your GP or screening provider. They will be able to provide you with the test and instructions on how to do it. This test is done at the doctor’s or other health setting, usually behind a screen or in the bathroom. Once you’re done, give the swab to your GP or nurse to send off to the lab for testing.
This test is done at the doctor’s or other health setting, usually behind a screen or in the bathroom. If you think you might be eligible for self-collection speak to your GP or screening provider. They will be able to provide you with the test and instructions on how to do it.
You will be given instructions on how to collect the sample and offered a private place to collect your sample, usually behind a screen or in a bathroom at the doctor’s or other healthcare setting. If you have any concerns about how to do the test speak to your GP or nurse. They will be able to provide reassurance and further instructions on how to do the test.
When a GP takes a sample for cervical screening, they are collecting a sample of cells from your cervix. If you take your own sample via self-collection, you are collecting cells from your vagina. HPV can be found just as well in both cells from your cervix and cells from your vagina. If HPV is found on a self-collected sample you will need to go back to your GP to have a sample of cervical cells collected, which are then sent to the lab to see if there are any abnormal changes to your cervix.
If your self-collected test result comes back positive, this means that HPV has been detected and further testing is required. You will need to undergo a practitioner-collected Cervical Screening Test so that cervical cells can be collected and sent to a lab. This is just like a traditional Cervical Screening Test and a speculum examination is required. Speak with your GP or nurse about this test.
If your self-collected test results do not detect the presence of HPV, you will need to screen again in five years – either with a self-collected test or a practitioner-collected Cervical Screening Test.