Cervical Screening is Changing
From 26th July 2023, cervical screening in NZ will change from smears to HPV testing as the primary screening test. HPV-based screening provides 60-70% greater protection again cervical cancer compared with smears.
Therefore, anyone with a cervix or vagina who has ever been sexually active should be offered an HPV primary screening test from age 25 to age 69. This can be done as a self-swab which is more acceptable and less invasive than a smear. If you would prefer, a practitioner can also take the swab for you.
If your HPV screening test result is negative (therefore HPV not detected), it will be another five years before you will have to repeat the test (three years if immune deficient. A five-yearly HPV test is more likely to detect cancer than a three-yearly smear.
However, if you have symptoms, such as bleeding after sex or abnormal discharge, your practitioner will discuss with you whether a smear would be more appropriate.
For more information, please see https://www.timetoscreen.nz/cervical-screening/changes-to-the-test/