As of November 2019 the age for cervical screening (smear tests) in New Zealand has been raised from 20 years to 25 years. The National Screening Unit state that:
“The decision to change the cervical screening start age has been made because there is a strong body of evidence that screening women between 20 and 24 years of age provides little benefit to women and has the potential to cause harm”.
If you are under 25 years of age and have already started screening you will continue to be offered screening as per usual. If you are under 25 years of age and have not started screening your primary care provider will invite you to start screening once you have turned 25. Cervical screening is a highly effective approach for reducing cervical cancer rates and it is important you either start or continue being screened when appropriate.
Despite this change it is important that you visit your doctor regarding any unusual symptoms (abnormal bleeding, persistent discharge, or pain) regardless of your age.