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If you are ready to get screened, find a screening provider. There is an option that will suit you and your needs.
The vaginal swab is an easy way for most people to collect their screening sample. It is quick and should not be uncomfortable.
If you prefer, your healthcare provider can help you with your swab test.
Where you can do a self-test
You will usually do a self-test at your screening appointment after your consultation. You can do the test in private behind a screen or in a bathroom.
Sometimes you will be able to have a consultation and do the test at other locations, like community centres or mobile units.
Some healthcare providers may offer a take-home option. Talk to them if you are interested in this.
How to do a vaginal swab (self-test) — English
How to do a vaginal swab (self-test) — Te reo Māori
How to do a vaginal swab (self-test) — Pacific
If you choose to do a self-test you will be given a kit with detailed instructions.
If you have any questions or difficulty, ask your healthcare provider for help.
Wash your hands with soap and water and dry them thoroughly.
In a private space, find a comfortable position to take your sample. You may like to sit, stand, lie down or squat. If you cannot find a position that works for you, ask your healthcare provider for help.
Take the tube containing the swab out of the bag and remove the swab stick. You may need to hold and twist the cap to break the paper seal.
Try not to touch the swab tip either with your fingers or against any surface.
Holding the swab stick halfway down, use your free hand to open your vagina and gently insert the tip of the swab about 4 to 5cm (about the length of your thumb, similar to inserting a tampon).
Most people find it easy and comfortable to do. If you experience any pain, then draw the stick back a bit until it is more comfortable or ask your healthcare provider to assist.
Rotate the swab 4 times for about 20 seconds, gently touching the sides of the vagina, then remove. Put the swab back into the tube.
Once you have collected your sample, check the kit instructions for next steps on what to do with the swab. Make sure the cap on your sample is put on tightly, so it is well-sealed.
Dispose of any leftover materials in the rubbish bin, then wash your hands with soap and water and dry them thoroughly.
Place the completed sample and form back into the bag, seal it and give it back to your healthcare provider who will send it for testing.
Note: The self-test is not like a RAT or pregnancy test — it will not show you results. Your swab will be sent to a lab for testing to get your results.
It is very unlikely you will get anything wrong.
It is okay to continue with the test if you:
- have touched the swab tip with your fingers (though it is best to avoid this)
- have inserted the swab into your vagina but are unsure if you have inserted it far enough.
If you drop your swab let your healthcare provider know and ask them for a replacement.
Your healthcare provider will follow up with you to let you know your results.
If HPV is found you may need to get a cervical sample taken to check for abnormal cells .
Find out about results and what treatment is available.