The UK National Screening Committee has recommended that cervical screening programmes invite all people with a cervix, aged between 25 and 64 every 5 years once they have tested negative for HPV.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer. In 2018, Cervical Screening Wales introduced screening using HPV testing. This test is more effective at identifying people at higher risk of developing cell changes which can cause cervical cancer.
Evidence shows that it is safe to extend the time between cervical screening (smear) tests for people who do not have HPV. Cervical Screening Wales will be making this change from 1st January 2022.
This change will apply to people whose next routine screening result shows that they do not have HPV. This means their risk of developing cervical cancer within the next 5 years is very low.
We will look at the cells if high-risk HPV is found in a cervical screening sample. Follow-up for these individuals may be different depending on their test results. Click here for more information about your results and HPV.
The change will be implemented from 1st January 2022, and will apply to all routine results issued by Cervical Screening Wales where HPV was not found.
Some samples taken in December 2021 will be subject to this change.
No, the cervical screening test remains the same and the cervical screening experience for women will not change
Yes. Evidence shows if no high-risk HPV is found in a woman’s sample, the woman has a very low risk of developing cervical cancer within 5 years, as it takes around 10 to 15 years to develop after infection with HPV.
The change will apply from January 1st 2022 to people receiving routine results, where HPV was not found. Individuals who are already receiving care in colposcopy or are due to have follow up cervical screening will not be affected by the change until they complete their follow up tests and return to routine recall after testing negative for HPV.
The recommendation by the UK National Screening Committee that cervical screening programmes invite individuals, aged between 25 and 64 every 5 years, once they have tested negative for HPV, applies to the UK cervical screening programmes that have implemented HPV testing. The change was implemented in Scotland in March 2020 and will be adopted by England in the future.
Please see your GP if you have any symptoms, such as: