National Cervical Screening Program – important advice for GPs regarding self collection (February 2018)

Prior to offering self-collection as an option to their patients, healthcare providers are encouraged to check with their pathology laboratory on availability.

Self-collection of vaginal samples for human papillomavirus (HPV) will be an option under the renewed National Cervical Screening Program.

Self-collection of a vaginal sample for screening is available for women aged 30 years or over, who have declined to have a cervical sample collected by a healthcare provider, and are either:

  • Overdue for cervical screening by two years or longer (i.e. four years or more since their last Pap test, or seven years or more since their last Cervical Screening Test), or
  • Have never screened

Self-collection is not suitable if a woman is:

  • Under 30 years of age or,
  • Pregnant, or thinks they might be pregnant, or
  • Symptomatic, such as experiencing unusual bleeding, pain or discharge, or
  • Has been exposed to diethyl-stilbestrol (DES) in utero.

However this process has been marred by the non-availability of accredited pathology laboratory testing.

The Australian Government Department of Health is aware that only one pathology laboratory is accredited for self-collection.