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Smear Test (Cervical Screening)


A smear test (or a cervical screening test) is a simple test that checks for a virus called high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) and, if you have HPV, then looks for cervical cell changes (abnormal cells). Finding and treating these changes can prevent cancer of the cervix from developing. When you receive an invitation to cervical screening from the Practice, please, don’t ignore it. It takes just a few minutes and could save your life.

smear test tips

How is a Smear Test done?

Key messages for LGBTQ+ audiences

  • Women and people with a cervix aged 25-64 are eligible for screening. Those registered as female with their GP practice are invited for routine screening every three years if they are aged 25-49 and every five years if they are aged 50-64. Those registered as male will need to request an appointment from their GP or a local sexual health clinic.
  • Trans men and non-binary people with a cervix aged 25-64 are eligible for cervical screening. They can arrange to be screened with their GP practice or a local sexual health clinic.
  • If you have a cervix and have had any kind of sexual contact, with people of any gender, you are at risk of cervical cancer.
  • Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV) which is a common virus that most people will get at some point during their lives. This is because HPV is spread through close skin to skin contact during any type of sexual activity.
  • You can have HPV even if you’ve only ever had one partner, or not had sex for a long time.

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