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 genital warts. Other cases of HPV can be linked to the development of cervical cancer, anal cancer, genital cancer, and cancers of the head and neck. HPV is usually spread through sexual activity and is very common. 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. Every S1 student in Scotland will be offered the HPV vaccine. 

If you miss your HPV vaccination, there will be further opportunities to get it. For example, you may be offered a rescheduled vaccination appointment next year.

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?

Yes! You only need one dose of the HPV vaccine to get protected against HPV. The injection may sound sore but it’s just a little nip in the upper arm. 

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 (smear) tests once you turn 25. You should get a letter from NHS Scotland when you’re due to get a test. 

Find out more

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

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