New HPV Screening Test

Answering common concerns following the new HPV screening test and what a positive test result means


In September 2023, a Human Papillomavirus (HPV) screening test became the new method for cervical screening in Aotearoa New Zealand. This test is for the high-risk Human Papillomavirus (HrHPV) types which may lead to cell changes that could cause cervical cancer. Most positive HrHPV tests never develop into cancer.

In most cases, this new HPV test replaces the need for a speculum examination (known as a pap smear) as part of cervical screening.

What does your positive test really mean?

  • Having a positive HrHPV test does not mean you will have or will get cancer. After a positive test you can be monitored by colposcopy through the cervical screening programme. This ensures that if abnormal cells are detected they can be treated, if necessary, well before they may ever develop into cancer.

What does this mean for your sex life past, present and future?

  • Unless you have been vaccinated before becoming sexually active, you are likely to have been exposed to the genital HPVs. Sometimes called the common cold of STIs, HPV is a virus that most of us will have during our lifetime.
  • The vaccine protects against nine different subtypes of the virus, so even with vaccination there is still a risk of exposure to HPV. However, most HPV types are asymptomatic and/or have no/low risk of causing cervical cell changes. The vaccine protects you against the most common low-risk and high-risk types. 
  • You may have HPV for years without it causing any problems. How and when you got HPV doesn't matter as it is rarely possible to know.
  • A positive HrHPV test does not mean you need to change who you sleep with or what you do with them sexually.

What should male partners do if you have a positive high-risk HPV test?

  • There are no diagnostic or screening tests for HrHPV for males. There is no need to do anything. 


This information can be downloaded and printed here. Please share this with people having a vaginal HPV swab.


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Videos: learn more about HPV

The HPV Vaccine

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is probably the most common STI there is, affecting most people at some point in their lives. In collaboration with THETA (The Theatre in Health Education Trust) , STIEF has produced this video to help explain HPV and the HPV vaccine.

Watch more videos from STIEF and Just The Facts on the YouTube channel here.


Ian Frazer – HPV Video Lecture

'Translating research into practice. The HPV vaccine story - where to in 2017'. A lecture with Professor Ian Frazer © University of Queensland, 2017

Permission granted to NZ HPV Project / STIEF to publish. No part of this video may be downloaded, reproduced or distributed in any form or by any means by third parties without prior written consent from the University of Queensland.

Overview of the Story of HPV (Human Papillomavirus)

This video provides information for parents, caregivers, health workers and students planning to work in the health sector. It's about HPV, vaccination and the importance of cervical screening and practising safer sex in protecting women's health. Produced by the Ministry of Health 2011.

Note: anyone aged 9 - 26 years (inclusive) can receive the HPV vaccine FREE as part of the Ministry of Health's HPV Immunisation Programme. 

Visiting the Sexual Health Clinic

Visiting the Sexual Health Clinic – watch this video to get just the facts to help you with your consultation or to talk to a friend about how to visit a sexual health clinic.

Just The Facts is brought to you by the Sexually Transmitted Infections Education Foundation (STIEF). An initiative funded by the Ministry of Health through collective District Health Boards to educate New Zealanders about sexual health and STIs.

The Male Story

Emerging Epidemic of HPV (Human Papillomavirus) related Head and Neck Cancer. A lecture with Dr Bruce Haughey and Dr Julian White (2016). 

Hosted by the New Zealand Society of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery and the New Zealand HPV Project.


STIEF is proud to be a partner of the International Papillomavirus Society's HPV Awareness Day campaign - 
every year on March 4th.