29 Sep, 2023

Who Needs Cervical Screening?

Māori woman sitting at picnic bench

In the second of our series on Cervical Screening we are looking at who needs to get a screening and what happens at a screening.

Do I Need To Have A Cervical Screening?

If you are aged between 25-69, have been sexually active and have a cervix, then you are advised to have a cervical screening appointment every 5 years. It is also recommended for you to be screened if you are aged between 20-24 and have already had a screening. If you are aged between 70-74 and haven’t had regular screenings or have never been screened, you should also book an appointment.

A Cervical Sample OR The HPV Screening Test

Remember that you now have a choice about what kind of cervical screening you can have. However some people may not be eligible for the HPV Screening Test and may need to have a Cervical Sample taken. There is nothing to be afraid of when it comes to a Cervical Sample, but here’s an overview of what happens and some tips to make your experience a little more comfortable.

Fijian woman in a park holding a child

What Happens During A Cervical Sample?

Having a cervical sample taken doesn’t take very long at all – in fact, just a few minutes! A swab is used to collect a few cells from your cervix (the neck of the womb). The sample is then sent to a lab to be tested for abnormal cells. It may be slightly uncomfortable for a few seconds during the swabbing process but remember, it will be over very quickly.

Tips For Your Cervical Sample Appointment

  • Wear a skirt you can leave on
  • Use the sheet or blanket provided to keep yourself covered and comfortable
  • Ask for someone you feel comfortable with to take your sample
  • Ask for someone from your culture to take your sample
  • Try to breathe deeply and relax your legs
  • Take a friend or family member with you for support
  • Plan to get your screening done with a friend and have a meal afterwards as a reward!
Smiling nurse

HPV and Cervical Cancer

Find out more about the symptoms, risk and prevention of Cervical Cancer and HPV.

Your screening test results

Learn what your cervical screening test results mean. What happens if you need more testing.

Why have regular screening tests?

Read about why it’s so important to keep up with your Cervical screening schedule.

More Cervical screening resources