What Is the HPV Vaccine? in Body

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Find out more about the Human papillomavirus or HPV and the vaccination you may be offered.

What is the Human Papillomavirus (HPV)?

Human papillomavirus is the name given to a family of high and low risk viruses. HPV can cause warts and verrucas and, in extreme cases, can cause cervical cancer in women. 

According to Cancer Research UK, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women under the age of 35 with 2,900 women diagnosed every year. 

HPV is spread by sexual activity, and it affects as many as half the population at some point in their lives. It is important for girls to get protection as early as possible and that is why they are offered the HPV vaccination. 

The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine

The HPV vaccine protects against the two types that cause most cases (over 70%) of cervical cancer.

The HPV vaccination is protective for at least 20 years and it prevents genital warts too. The vaccine is important because we do not know who is at risk of developing cervical cancer.

Who gets the vaccine?

The HPV vaccine is recommended for all girls aged 12 and 13 years (in S2).

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 in your arm over 12 months. This might seem like a bit of a pain, but it’s worth it to help reduce your chances of getting cervical cancer.

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

Because some types of HPV aren't protected against you still need regular cervical screening tests once you turn 25. 

You can get this done by the practice nurse at your GP’s surgery or at a family planning clinic. 

More information and help

If you want more information or advice about the vaccine, you can go to the NHS page on the HPV vaccine.