All women who have ever been sexually active should have regular cervical smear tests every three years between the ages of 25 and 69. This includes women who have been immunised against HPV. This test detects abnormal cells which, if left untreated, could become cervical cancer. Very often these cells are made abnormal by a human papillomavirus (HPV) which is a sexually transmitted virus. Regular tests and treatment reduces the likelihood of this sort of cancer by around 90%.
Most people will be exposed to human papillomavirus (HPV) as older teenagers or young adults. Persistent HPV infection can lead to cervical and other HPV-related cancers. HPV also causes most genital warts.
HPV immunisation is free for anyone, male or female, aged 9 to 26 inclusive. Three doses costs around $500 for those who are not eligible for the funded vaccine. Even if you have been immunised against HPV, you should have a regular smear test.
If you are pregnant, you can still have a screening test, especially if you have never had one before, are due or overdue one, have an abnormal screening history or have been recommended for a follow-up. After the birth of a baby, you should wait three months to have a cervical screening test. This allows time for the changes of pregnancy to settle.
You are welcome to bring a support person or member of whanau with you. Book an appointment by calling Dunedin South Medical Centre on 03 455 4073.
For more information about cervical smear tests click on the link to the National Screening Unit website http://www.nsu.govt.nz/current-nsu-programmes/national-cervical-screening-programme.aspx