Clinical Guidelines


Cervical cancer screening

Women undergoing exit testing

Clinical question

GUIDELINE UPDATES - This guideline was last updated 2/1/2021

UPCOMING GUIDELINES - This guideline was updated and comes into practice on 7/1/2022Download PDF


The HPV test is significantly more sensitive than cytology for the detection of cervical abnormalities caused by HPV infection, and a single HPV test for which oncogenic HPV is not detected is considered sufficient to safely discharge women from the NCSP.[1]

MSAC has recommended that women between the ages of 70 and 74 years can cease 5 yearly screening after a HPV test at which oncogenic HPV is not detected.[1]


MSAC evidence-based recommendation
REC6.19: Women aged 70–74 years in whom oncogenic HPV is not detected (exit testing)
Women can be discharged from the NCSP if they are aged 70–74 years and have a screening test at which oncogenic HPV is not detected.
Note: recommendation numbering changed Feb 2021, this was previously REC 6.16
Consensus-based recommendation
REC6.20: Referral of women aged 70–74 years with a positive oncogenic HPV test result (exit testing)
Women aged 70–74 who have a positive oncogenic HPV (any type) test result should be referred directly for colposcopic assessment, which should be informed by the result of reflex LBC.
Note: recommendation numbering changed Feb 2021, this was previously REC 6.17

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  1. Medical Services Advisory Committee. MSAC Outcomes. Application No. 1276 – Renewal of the National Cervical Screening Program. [homepage on the internet] Canberra: Australian Government Department of Health; 2014 [updated 2015 Apr]. Available from:$File/1276%20-%20Final%20MSAC%20PSD%20-%20NCSP%20Renewal.pdf.

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