As of today, there has been a change in the way cervical screening works here in New Zealand, so if you care about your downstairs health, you might wanna keep reading!
According to Time To Screen, we’re saying hello to HPV screening – the new method for cervical screening to make sure we are in tip-top shape.
HPV stands for human papillomavirus, and this little test is a “game-changer” in detecting cell changes that might lead to cervical cancer.
Why should we care? Well, roughly 180 people get cervical cancer in NZ every year, and 85% have either never been screened or have not had regular screening.
With this new way of testing, you get to choose how you want your screening sample taken.
You can go for the quick and easy vaginal swab, and the best part is, you can even do it yourself if you fancy it.
Or, if you prefer being in the hands of a healthcare professional, you can opt for a cervical sample, which was previously known as a ‘smear test’.
When it comes to where you get your screening done, the power is in your hands. You can choose your usual doctor or practice nurse, visit Māori, Pacific, or women's community health centres, or even check out outreach services like marae and mobile units. Family Planning clinics and sexual health services are also on the list.
But how do you know which one's right for you? Don't worry, your healthcare provider will help you figure it out based on your screening history.
Now, here's the deal – if your vaginal swab test shows the presence of HPV, you might be advised to go for a cervical sample as a follow-up. But don't stress, they've got your back!
Free screening is available for our amazing Māori and Pacific women and anyone over 30 who hasn't had a test in the last five years or has never had one before. If you hold a Community Services Card, you're in luck too!
If you aren't eligible for the free funding, it will most likely cost you somewhere between $40-$80 depending on where you go. While it may be a chunk out of your wallet, there honestly isn't anything better to spend your cash on than something that might just save your life.
So, let's take charge of our health, one screening at a time.