Improved HPV test will save lives and reduce GP visits

Australian women between the ages of 25 and 69 will no longer have to visit the doctor once every two years for a pap smear.

The news – which came into effect December 1 – is a result of an improved and more sensitive human papillomavirus (HPV) test.

This test is expected to prevent up to one in three from developing cervical cancer.

“The new HPV test will prevent up to 30 per cent more women from developing cervical cancer because it detects HPV, an early risk indicator for cervical cancer," Health Minister Greg Hunt remarked.

The present HPV test only detects cervical abnormalities after they occur.

“Women who are 25 years or older should have their first cervical screening test two years after their last pap test. If no HPV is detected, they can then move to a test every five years.”

Cervical cancer is the 14th most commonly diagnosed cancer in women in Australia.