Pathology Awareness Australia (PAA) member organisation, the Australian Centre for the Prevention of Cervical Cancer (ACPCC), is spearheading an HPV self-collection campaign to healthcare providers, made possible by the support of the Australian Government.

The organisation is launching a nationwide healthcare provider campaign about supporting patient choice in cervical screening. The campaign intends to educate providers about the reliability of HPV self-collection and encourage them to offer self-collection as a choice to all eligible cervical screening patients. This provider campaign begins ahead of a nationwide patient-facing campaign set to debut in September, also funded by the Australian Government, promoting the HPV self-collection option in cervical screening.

Throughout the provider campaign, GPs are being encouraged to contact their pathology providers to:

  • confirm that they can process self-collected vaginal samples, or
  • confirm that they are able to refer self-collected vaginal samples to an accredited laboratory, if necessary, and
  • order the correct collection device and other consumables for offering self-collection, and
  • confirm any collection, handling and transport requirements.

The most commonly used device for self-collection in the National Cervical screening Program is a Copan FLOQswab (red top) flocked swab 552C or 552C.80.

Self-collected samples are taken from the vagina, whereas samples from clinician-conducted speculum exams are taken from the cervix. All routine (asymptomatic) cervical screening participants are eligible for self-collection, including patients who are pregnant1 and those with immune deficiency. If HPV is found, follow-up is required.

Self-collection is just as sensitive for the detection of HPV and CIN2+/adenocarcinoma in situ as a clinician-collected sample2 and can help overcome screening barriers in under-screened groups (e.g., privacy/modesty concerns, fears of discomfort and pain, previous trauma, etc.). Currently, over 70% of cervical cancer cases occur in people who have never screened or are overdue. Therefore, self-collection can address disparities by helping engage those who would otherwise not participate in screening—but only if they are provided the choice to do so.

If you are a healthcare provider and want to get up to speed on HPV self-collection and cervical screening, you can visit campaign resource hub to find webinars, podcasts, provider resources, and other CPD opportunities.

You don’t have to be a cervical screening provider to support the campaign – to spread the word about the importance of supporting the choice, you can check out the stakeholder toolkit


  1. Cancer Council Australia. 14. Screening in pregnancy [Internet]. 2022. Available from:
  2. Arbyn M, Smith S, Temin S, Sultana F, Castle P. Detecting cervical precancer and reaching underscreened women by using HPV testing on self samples: updated meta-analyses. Bmj. 2018 Dec 5;363.