Cervical screening activity
For the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP), activity data are available for the number of screening tests performed within a specified time period.
Explore the latest data in the visualisation below.
In the March quarter 2023, 268,000 Cervical Screening Tests were performed for people aged 25–74.
Between the March quarter 2018 and the March quarter 2023:
- The March quarter 2023 experienced a peak in the number of HPV tests conducted (268,000) compared to the March quarters of the preceding 3 years (127,000 in March quarter 2022, 139,000 in March quarter 2021 and 238,000 in March quarter 2020). the increase in number of HPV tests in early 2023 in comparison tot he 3 previous years is expected as many participants are returning for their first 5-year rescreen within the renewed program.
- Overall, the annual number of screening tests has decreased from over 1.5 million in 2018 and 2019 to 700,000 in 2020, 500,000 in 2021 and 481,000 in 2022. This was due to the program changeover from 2-yearly Pap tests to 5-yearly Cervical Screening Tests in December 2017 and was expected to occur irrespective of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent restrictions.
- The number of screening tests in 2018 and 2019 fluctuated quarterly between 350,000 and 430,000. Most people who had screened under the previous program were due for their first primary human papillomavirus (HPV) test in 2018 and 2019, 2 years after their last Papanicolaou smear (Pap test).
- The number of Cervical Screening Tests performed in 2020, 2021 and 2022 was expected to be lower than in 2018 and 2019 and fluctuated quarterly between 102,000 and 238,000 screening tests. Screening tests in 2020, 2021 and 2022 were mainly comprised of those in people overdue for their first HPV test, as well as people who were newly eligible for cervical screening, mostly due to turning 25.
The impact of COVID-19 on the NCSP can only be assessed by conducting a more detailed analysis of trends .For more information about the impact of COVID-19 on Australia’s cancer screening programs, see Cancer screening page and the AIHW report Cancer screening and COVID-19 in Australia.
The impact of COVID-19 on the NCSP cannot be quantified without further years of data. For more information about the impact of COVID-19 on Australia’s cancer screening programs, see the AIHW Cancer screening page and the AIHW report Cancer screening and COVID-19 in Australia.
Figure 1: National Cervical Screening Program activity data, March quarter 2018 to March quarter 2023
This data visualisation shows monthly national activity data for the National Cervical Screening Program, from January 2018 to March 2023. The column graph shows the number of screening tests by year and can be filtered by year, by quarter and by month. The second tab shows the activity data in table form and can be filtered by year, by quarter, by month and by state and territory.