Cervical screening test

  • 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 need to be collected by clinicians into ThinPrep® vials.

  • Request forms must specify the requested test PLUS the reason for test PLUS supporting clinical notes.


First six-month report of the National Cervical Screening Program October 2019 [pdf download]

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.

Government Website

We have created a range of resources for you and your patients. These can be downloaded, or contact your Business Development Manager for copies.

Available resources

In order to help you better understand the Cervical Screening Test (CST), we have created a range of resources that are available to be downloaded using the links below. 

  1. Self-collected HPV test [pdf download]

  2. Request form [pdf download]

  3. Guide for Clinicians [pdf download]

  4. Information for Patients [pdf download]

  5. Flowcharts for 'Pathway for routine cervical screening' [pdf download] 

  6. Flowcharts for 'Transition to the renewed National Cervical Screening Program' [pdf download]


Extra Reading

Addressing challenges in the new cervical screening program, May 2018 [pdf download]


For further information about the Cervical Screening Test, please contact GynaePath on (02) 9855 6200.

Cervical screening test audit

The National Cervical Screening Program has introduced significant changes to the way cervical screening tests (CST) are performed in Australia. Sonic Healthcare has created a CST audit to provide participating general practitioners with comparative statistical data to better understand the clinical implications of the new reporting systems, and to reflect upon possible practice improvements and learning opportunities.