As of May 2017, the traditional Pap smear will be replaced by the high risk HPV test also known as the oncogenic HPV test. This will be funded by Medicare and women with no symptoms between the ages of 25 and 74 will be offered screening. The screening will be every five years for those with a negative HPV test. This test will be performed by your doctor in the same way as a traditional pap test will be taken; but instead of looking at the cells under a glass slide, the pathologist will simply be checking for high, low or intermediate risk virus categories based on virus types. In some cases where a positive result occurs a Pap smear will be performed and possibly a closer look at that neck of the womb (cervix) through an instrument called a colposcope.
Even though the screening frequency is less, that is every five years instead of every two years, there is good evidence that the outcome is even better than under the previous cervical screening program.