Cervical sample guide
(previously called a smear test)
Having a cervical sample taken (previously called a smear test), may be recommended for some people, and you can choose this option for your HPV testing if you prefer. A cervical sample is taken by a trained health professional in a hauora clinic or community-based location or in a mobile unit.
Your appointment will usually take around 15 minutes, but it only takes a few minutes to have your cervical sample taken.
You are welcome to bring someone to support you, such as your partner, a family or whānau member or a friend.
If you need an interpreter or if you have a disability that makes it difficult or uncomfortable to have the test, please let your health provider know.
Here’s what to expect…
Step 1: Kōrero through the process
At the start of your appointment, ask your screen-taker to go through what they are going to do, and ask any questions you might have.
You can ask questions at any time during your appointment.
Step 2: Get comfortable
Your screen-taker will invite you to lie on the bed in a private area.
You can lie on your back with your knees bent up, or on your side. Let the screen-taker know your preference.
A sheet will be provided so you can cover up as needed.
Step 3: Cervical sample collected
When you are ready your sample-taker will open your vagina gently with a speculum.
They will then use a soft brush to carefully take a small sample of cells from the surface of your cervix.
This might feel uncomfortable but at any time if it hurts, or you are in pain, let your sample-taker know.
Your sample-taker will let you know when they have finished taking the cell sample and, once it’s done, you can get dressed.
Step 4: Test sample sent to the lab
Your test sample is sent to the laboratory.
If it’s a follow-up test after HPV has already been found in a swab test, it will be used to check for cell changes.
Or if you’ve not had an HPV swab test, the cervical sample will first be tested for HPV. Only if the virus is found will the sample then also be checked for cell changes.
Your results will be sent to your screening provider in 1 to 2 weeks. They will let you know when and how you will receive your results and if any further follow-up is needed.
If you have any questions after your test please contact your screening provider.