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Health Promotion

The National Cervical Screening Programme

The National Cervical Screening Programme is available to all women in New Zealand between 20 and 70 years old.

As one of the most preventable of all cancers, there are two things you can do to prevent cervical cancer.

These are:

  • having a regular cervical screening test (women aged 20–70 years) and any follow-up treatment if required.

  • having your HPV immunisation (girls from age 11).

Screening and immunisation are the most effective protection against cervical cancer

Did you know that ...

  • Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable of all cancers.

  • 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. Most HPV infections clear by themselves, but some high-risk types can cause cell changes on the cervix that may lead to cervical cancer 10 to 20 years after infection. Other types can cause genital warts, but these strains do not lead to cancer.

  • A woman’s best protection against developing cervical cancer is having regular cervical smear tests. A cervical smear test is a screening test to find abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix.

  • HPV testing may sometimes be carried out to see if certain high-risk types of HPV are present in the cervix. This helps to define the risk of cervical cancer.

  • 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.

  • The vaccine does not protect against all HPV types; therefore, women who have been immunised must still continue to have smear tests.

  • Regular cervical smear tests every three years are recommended for women, if they have ever been sexually active, from the age of 20 until they turn 70.

  • Having regular cervical smears can reduce a woman’s risk of developing cervical cancer by 90 percent.

   See your doctor or nurse if you have:

  • bleeding between menstrual periods

  • bleeding after sexual intercourse

  • bleeding after menstrual periods have stopped (menopause)

  • unusual discharge from your vagina

  • persistent pain in your pelvis

  • pain during sexual intercourse.

    These symptoms can occur for many reasons, but they should always be checked out.


Changes to the Immunisation Schedule from 1 July 2014:     view the schedule here

All children transfer to the new Schedule from 1 July 2014, although the date the new vaccines are available may be later than 1 July while existing vaccine stocks are used up. There are no changes to the ages of the routine immunisation events

RotaTeq oral rotavirus vaccine will be funded for all infants receiving the first dose between 6 and 15 weeks of age. 

Funded quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV4, Gardasil) may now be administered to girls from age 9 years; however, the usual Schedule remains at age 12 years for girls only.

13-valent pneumococcal vaccine (PCV13, Prevenar 13) replaces 10-valent pneumococcal vaccine (PCV10, Synflorix) at 6 weeks, 3, 5 and 15 months.

The following vaccines have been funded for special groups (ie children and adults at high risk of some diseases due to other medical conditions): hepatitis A, hepatitis B, human papillomavirus, meningococcal, pertussis (Tdap), pneumonia, varicella

   Click here to see more information on Rotavirus and immunisation


Become Smoke Free

   Click here to see our information on becoming smoke free

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