Ground floor, Ilam Health Building, 110 Memorial Avenue, Burnside, Christchurch : Ph 03 351 6198 :

Cervical screening / HPV testing

Cervical cancer is highly treatable if detected early. Regular cervical screening every five years is recommended for women aged 25 to 69 years, if they have ever been sexually active.
Our nurses will send out reminders when you are due for cervical screening. More regular screening may be required for some women and will be discussed with you if necessary. Screening and immunisation are the most effective protection against cervical cancer.

Ilam Medical Centre offers a safe environment for cervical screening tests, which can be completed with our trained nurses or female doctors. We can also provide details for Maori and Pacific health providers, please call and ask to speak with one of our nurses if you have any questions or concerns.
We highly recommended having regular cervical screening and we focus on making this experience as comfortable as possible.

You should have regular smear tests if you:

  • Are a woman or trans or non-binary person with a cervix
  • Are aged 25 to 69 years
  • Have ever been sexually active (even if this was once)

This also includes if you:

  • Are immunised against HPV
  • Are single
  • Only have sex with women
  • Have a disability
  • Have been through menopause
  • Are no longer having sex.

Note: If you have had a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), please check with your nurse or doctor whether you still need to be screened.

Free screening is available for certain groups and includes women and people with a cervix who meet the following criteria:
– Over 30 years of age and have never had a cervical smear/screening
– Have not had a test in the past 5 years
– Anyone who requires a surveillance/follow up testing
– Māori or Pacific
– Anyone who is a community service card holder

Please refer to our list of Fees for information on the cost of cervical screening, however if you are concerned about the cost we have other funding options we can discuss with you. You will always be notified about your results, usually via a test message – even if it is negative/normal. These can sometimes take a couple of weeks to come in.

Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is caused by certain types of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a very common virus passed on by sexual contact. Most people will come into contact with HPV at some stage during their life. People with HPV usually do not have any symptoms. The body is pretty good at clearing the virus itself, usually within 2 years, especially in people under 30. However, sometimes it can persist and may develop into cervical cancer over time. 95% of cervical cancers are caused by HPV.

Having HPV does not mean you have cancer.

Cell changes on the cervix happen very slowly. There are many stages between HPV infection, cell changes, and cancer. A woman’s best protection against developing cervical cancer is having regular screening – this helps to detect any changes early, so treatment can be provided before cancer develops.

HPV Vaccination

Immunisation is now available to protect women against two common types of HPV (types 16 and 18) that cause around 70 percent of cervical cancer. This is funded and available from the age of 11 until 27 years. Please discuss the scheduling and doses with one of our nurses. The ideal time to have this vaccination is prior to any sexual contact. The vaccine does not protect against all HPV types; therefore, women who have been immunised must still continue to have smear tests.


Can I have cervical screening done if I have my period?
Yes, you can still have a screening test as long as the bleeding is not too heavy. This could affect the test result.

Is it safe to have a cervical screening test during pregnancy?
Yes, it is safe to have a screening test when you are pregnant, but it is best to discuss this with your healthcare provider.

How long should I wait after pregnancy before having cervical screening?
After the birth of your baby, you should wait 6 weeks to have your screening test. This allows time for the changes from pregnancy to settle.


Making an appointment

Are you considering a smear?
We have trained nurses and female doctors who can do HPV and  cervical screening test for you.

Please call reception to book an appointment with the nurse or doctor. For more information, please call to speak with a nurse, or have a chat with your GP at your next appointment.


You may take a support person with you to your cervical screening appointment. When booking, let reception know if you:

  • Have a disability that means you need extra support
  • Require an interpreter

More information

What does the test involve?
Cervical Screening information 
National Screening programme website

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