From Friday 1 July 2022, the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) will expand screening test options, offering self-collection as an option to all people participating in cervical screening. The change means that all NCSP participants aged 25 to 74 years old will have the choice to screen using either a self-collected vaginal sample, or a clinician-collected sample from the cervix. Both of these options are accessed through a health professional.
Recent evidence has demonstrated that a cervical screening test using a self-collected vaginal sample is as accurate as a clinician-collected sample taken from the cervix during a speculum examination. A self-collected sample is taken from the vagina (not the cervix) and is tested for the presence of HPV. For asymptomatic participants, there is strong evidence that HPV tests on self-collected vaginal samples and clinician-collected cervical samples have equivalent sensitivity when using a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)-based HPV test – the test used by the National Cervical Screening Program.
Summary evidence of self-collection sensitivity can be found in the National Cervical Screening Program Clinical Guidelines.