What is HPV?

HPV is a very common virus which usually doesn't show symptoms. Find out more and how you can get protected below!

What is HPV?

HPV stands for Human Papillomavirus. HPV is an umbrella term for many different types of the virus. Some cases of HPV can cause warts and verrucas in some cases. Other cases of HPV can be linked to the development of cervical cancer, anal cancer, genital cancers, and cancers of the head and neck. HPV is spread by sexual activity, and it affects as many as half the population at some point in their lives. HPV infections do not usually cause any symptoms, and most people will not know they're infected.

How do I stay protected?

Vaccinations are the best way to stay protected. Currently, every S1 student in Scotland will be offered the HPV vaccine. 

If you missed out on the vaccine in S1 you can still receive it up to 9 years later. Speak to your doctor about getting the HPV vaccine or if you have any questions about it.

What is the HPV vaccine?

The HPV vaccine protects you from HPV viruses that can lead to the development of cancer and genital warts. 

Is it just a one off injection?

No, to make sure you get the best protection against HPV you’ll need to have three separate jabs over 12 months. This might seem like a bit of a pain, but it’s worth it.

Once I've got the jab, is that me covered?

The HPV vaccination protects against most types of HPV, but not all of them. If you have a cervix you will still need regular cervical screening tests once you turn 25. You should get a letter from your GP surgery when you're due to get a test. 

Find out more

If you want more info about human papillomavirus, visit the NHS page on the HPV vaccine. Or watch the video below!