Pap test results

If you had cervical screening before 1 December 2017, you will receive a different result, either:

  • A normal result
  • Low-grade changes
  • High-grade changes

A normal result

If you receive a normal result (sometimes called ‘negative’) this means that no abnormalities were seen in your cervical cells.

You should return for cervical screening in two years, to have your first Cervical Screening Test.

Low-grade changes

This result means your Pap test shows early changes to the cells in the cervix, probably caused by HPV infection. It is likely that your body will clear itself of the infection and the cells will return to normal. You will usually be advised to return for cervical screening in 12 months.

High-grade changes

If your test shows that you have high-grade changes, you will be referred for a colposcopy. These changes were most likely caused by an HPV infection that has not cleared up. It’s important that you follow the instructions of your doctor, as you may need further treatment to prevent these changes from progressing to cervical cancer.

An unsatisfactory result means that the laboratory could not test your sample properly. It is not a cause for concern, but you should return in 6 to 12 weeks for another test.