The cervical screening program changed in December 2017 and the two-yearly pap smear was replaced with a five-yearly Cervical Screening Test. The new test checks for the presence of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). It is recommended that all women between the age of 25-74 who have a cervix, and have been sexually active, have their first Cervical Screening Test two years after their last pap smear. If this is normal, you will only need to have the test every five years.
You will be referred for a colposcopy if your Cervical Screening Test shows a type of HPV that requires further testing, or there are abnormal cells that require treatment.
A colposcopy is performed on an examination bed in a similar position to when you have a Cervical Screening Test. A speculum is inserted and a special liquid is applied to your cervix to highlight any abnormal cells. A colposcope (special microscope) is used to carefully examine your cervix for abnormal areas that may require a biopsy (small sample of tissue).
The biopsy is sent to a laboratory for testing, to determine if you need further treatment. You may experience some discomfort after a biopsy, and some vaginal discharge.
Care after a colposcopy
If you have had a biopsy taken, it is recommended that you abstain from swimming, bathing or sexual intercourse for one week to reduce your risk of bleeding or infection. If you experience offensive vaginal discharge, or unexpected bleeding, please contact your doctor or our consulting rooms.