The main points

Pap smear tests have been replaced with cervical screening tests. This change happened on 1 December 2017. 

Other information

Pap smear test abnormalities

If your Pap smear test shows abnormalities, you need careful follow-up. Sometimes this will mean having a repeat test sooner than normal. Most often, further Pap smear testing shows a return to normal.

Sometimes, however, a colposcopy may be recommended.


A colposcopy is done by a specialist doctor. It is similar to having a Pap smear test but takes a bit longer. It involves looking at the cervix with a special magnifying instrument. Sometimes during the colposcopy, a small piece of tissue (a biopsy) is taken for examination under a microscope. If abnormal cells are confirmed after this examination a repeat testing schedule for monitoring will be recommended  or the doctor may recommend treatment.  

Treatment for abnormalities to the cells on the surface of the cervix

Treatment usually involves a laser being applied to the abnormal cells. This can usually be done using local anaesthetic and will not involve an overnight stay in hospital. This laser treatment will prevent the development of cervical cancer in nearly all women. It’s very safe and should not affect your ability to have children in the future. 

When can I have sex again?

There is no reason to avoid sex if you have an abnormal Pap smear test. If you are having treatment to your cervix, your doctor will tell you if you need to avoid sex until healing occurs.

Do I need to use condoms with my current partner?

If you have had unprotected sex with a current partner before you were diagnosed with genital HPV, there is a high chance you have both become infected even though only one of you may have symptoms, such as genital warts. You should use condoms with any new partner to reduce their risk of acquiring HPV infection from you.


This website provides general information only. The suitability of such general information  varies  from   person  to   person,  depending  on individual circumstances.   You should seek specific medical or legal advice for your individual circumstances.

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Last updated: 5 June 2016

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