Self-collection for the Cervical Screening Test

All cervical screening participants now have the choice to self-collect their Cervical Screening sample. The self-collected sample is taken from the vagina and is checked for human papillomavirus (HPV) – a common infection that causes almost all cervical cancers.

Yes, it’s this easy:

Yes, it’s this easy

Prevention is in your hands

If you decide collecting your own sample is the best option for you, your healthcare provider will give you a swab and instructions on how to collect your sample.

A self-collected sample is taken from the vagina (not the cervix). All you need to do is insert a swab a few centimetres into your vagina and rotate it for 20 to 30 seconds.

The sample can be taken in a private place within a healthcare clinic.

View the detailed instructions.

National Cervical Screening Program - Cervical screening explained
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Yes, it’s safe

Recent evidence shows a Cervical Screening Test using a self-collected sample from your vagina is just as safe and as accurate at detecting HPV as a clinician-collected sample taken from the cervix during a speculum examination.

However, because self-collection looks for HPV only – not cervical cell abnormalities – it is not recommended for people who have symptoms of cervical cancer or if you are experiencing unusual bleeding, pain or discharge.

Who is eligible?

You should get a Cervical Screening Test every five years if you:

  • are aged between 25 and 74
  • have had any type of sexual contact (with any person, even of the same sex)
  • are a woman / person with a cervix.

You should get a test even if you:

  • have had the HPV vaccines
  • are not currently sexually active
  • have had the same partner for a long time or only had one partner
  • are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender
  • are pregnant
  • have been through menopause
  • feel healthy and have no symptoms.
Who is eligible?

Cervical screening could save your life

About 800 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in Australia each year, and about 80% of these cases occur in women who have never screened or were not up-to-date with their screening.

Having regular screening tests is the best way to protect yourself.

If someone you love is eligible and has never screened or hasn’t screened for some time, encourage them to do their cervical screening.

How to book

Cervical screening – including self-collection – is facilitated by a doctor, nurse or health worker with a rebate provided through Medicare.

Contact your GP or healthcare provider to check if you're due or overdue for a Cervical Screening Test. If you’re due, make a booking with them.

If you don’t have a preferred healthcare provider, health direct can help you find a healthcare provider to book your test with.

You can also call the National Cancer Screening Register on 1800 627 701 to find out if you are due or overdue for your screening.