Women under 25 do not need routine cervical screening under the National Cervical Screening Program
Routine cervical screening is not recommended in the renewed program for women under 25 years. Some women under 25 will present with an expectation for routine screening, having had previous Pap tests. It is important that these women are aware that Medicare does not fund routine HPV cervical screening tests in women under 25.
Pathology laboratories are reporting that a significant number of samples are being submitted from women under 25 years of age. Given Medicare does not fund routine HPV cervical screening tests in women under 25 these will either need to be privately funded by the patient or, with the consent of the referring practitioner, not be processed by the laboratory.
Commencing screening at age 25 will reduce the investigation and treatment of common cervical abnormalities that would usually resolve by themselves. The time from HPV infection to cervical cancer is usually 10 to 15 years.
Women under 25 years who are currently under clinical management for a cervical abnormality should be managed according to the recommendations on transitioning women in the 2016 Guidelines.
To avoid out of pocket fees for your patients, you should familiarise yourself with the Pathology Test Guide for Cervical and Vaginal Testing.
To further assist healthcare providers, NPS MedicineWise through its RADAR publication has posted a comprehensive article outlining what providers need to be aware of when requesting the new Cervical Screening Test.