HPV Detection Rate Benchmarking

One of the key elements of quality assessment for the National Cervical Screening Program is for pathology laboratories to routinely assess their HPV detection rate ('positivity rate'). Laboratories are expected to compare the HPV detection rate in samples of at least 2000 screening specimens against national benchmarks. Data should be restricted to screening samples and to women aged 25 years or over at the time of testing.

The National Register provides overall and stratified benchmarks that will allow laboratories to assess their detection rates against national averages. The National Register stratifies benchmark detection rates by age cohort (born before/after June 30, 1980) labelled as pre- and post-1980.

As described in the National Pathology Accreditation Advisory Council’s Requirements for laboratories, reporting tests for the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) pathology laboratories must notify the NCSP Quality and Safety Monitoring Committee where a batch does not fall within the expected national average.

Guidance for pathology labs is available from the Guidelines for handling HPV positivity rate quality management process. This includes information on:

  • how to calculate the HPV positivity rate and provides examples of how to interpret results
  • how to notify the NCSP Quality and Safety Monitoring Committee
  • how the NCSP will manage notifications from pathology laboratories about a Query batch.

The Reagent Batch Failure Notification Form outlines the required information, including the date of reagent batch failure, reagent data (lot numbers and expiry dates) and contact details, which can be filled in and emailed to NCSR Operations at the Department of Health to notify the National Cervical Screening Program.

HPV Positivity Rate National Benchmark (Released 12 October 2020)

Please note that as of April 2019 publication, the National Cervical Screening Program Quality and Safety Monitoring Committee has agreed that the HPV Positivity Rate National Benchmark update will become quarterly rather than monthly.

National Benchmark Rates (current as at 2 October 2020) are calculated using Registry data collected from 5 June 2020 to 3 September 2020 using screening samples only for women aged >=25 years at the time of testing. This quarter’s benchmark has been generated using a three month rolling calculation (91 day window for specimen collection).

  • Overall National Benchmark Rate:         11.0%
  • Pre-1980 cohort:                                         7.4%
  • Post-1980 cohort:                                     14.5%

The following zip file contains instructions, and an Excel file with charts and tables that facilitate comparison to these benchmark rates.

The following are previous month rates:

HPV Positivity rate - date published Overall Pre 1980 Post 1980
7 July 2020 10.7% 7.1% 14.5%
4 April 2020 9.0% 6.1% 13.3%
6 January 2020 8.2% 5.7% 12.9%
2 October 2019 8.4% 5.9% 13.1%
11 April 2019 8.6% 5.9% 13.8%
1 March 2019 8.6% 5.9% 13.9%
1 February 2019 8.5% 5.9% 13.7%
11 January 2019 8.4% 5.9% 13.6%
11 December 2018 8.5% 6.0% 13.7%
9 November 2018 8.6% 6.1% 13.9%
5 October 2018 8.7% 6.1% 14.0%
7 September 2018 8.6% 6.1% 13.9%
3 August 2018 8.6% 6.1% 14.1%
6 July 2018 8.7% 6.2% 14.2%
1 June 2018 8.9%  6.2%  14.7% 
4 May 2018  9.1%  6.3%  14.9% 
6 April 2018  9.0%  6.2%  14.8% 
9 March 2018
9.2% 6.3% 15.2%
9 February 2018
8.9% 6.2% 14.9%
5 January 2018
8.9% 6.1% 15.7%

HPV positivity rate archive

Please visit HPV positivity rate – archive for full details of the above and earlier rates.