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Cervical screening


Information for doctors

  • On December 1, 2017, the Cervical Screening Test (CST) replaced the Pap test
  • The CST is now the only Medicare-funded routine cervical screening test, and is available to women aged 25 years and over
  • Specimens must be collected by clinicians into ThinPrep® vials
  • Request forms must specify the requested test PLUS the reason for test PLUS supporting clinical notes.

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 women who test negative for oncogenic HPV are at low risk of developing cervical cancer and only need to be screened every 5 years
  • Asymptomatic women 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 women 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
  • Women with special circumstances identified by the program may be offered more frequent screening or a single screening test prior to age 25.

Available resources

In order to help you with the changes implemented on December 1, 2017, we have created a range of resources which are available for download using the links below.

Self-Collected HPV test - July 2022 NEW

Cervical Screening update - February 2021

Swab guide - May 2021

CST reminders update - October 2019

Addressing challenges in the new cervical screening program May 2018 

Cervical Screening Collection Guide

Cervical Screening Renewal - R U Ready? December 2017 Revision

Changes to Cervical Screening - Information for Clinicians

Changes to Cervical Screening - information for patients July 2022

Flowcharts for 'Pathway for routine cervical screening' & 'Investigation of women with abnormal vaginal bleeding'

Flowcharts for 'Transition to the renewed National Cervical Screening Program' & 'Test of Cure (ToC)'

How to generate CST patient lists using Sonic Dx

How to securely email cervical screening summaries to patients

Resource Order Form

Self Collect Procedure

Symptomatic women/when to order a co-test

Previous information sheets

Cervical Screening Renewal - Important Information: April 2017 update

Cervical Screening Renewal: March 2017 update

Cervical Screening Renewal: July 2016

Recommendations to changes for cervical screening: April 2014

CST Audit

CST Audit information

CST Audit registration form

Additional resources


ThinPrep Pap Test specimen collection video


ThinPrep Pap Test information for health care professionals
  Cancer Council Australia Cancer Guidelines Wiki: National Cervical Screening Program 
Guidelines for the management of screen-detected abnormalities, screening in specific populations and investigation of abnormal vaginal bleeding.

Contact us

For further information on the new program, please contact our Cytology Department on (03) 9287 7761.