The Human papilloma virus (HPV) can cause disease in several parts of the body and can be passed on by having intimate sexual contact with someone who already has the virus. There are around 200 types of HPV, many of which are harmless, some of which can cause genital warts and others that in men can cause cancer of the penis, anus, mouth and throat and in women, cervix, vagina, vulva, anus, mouth and throat.
Condoms can reduce the risk of infection, but can’t prevent the spread completely as HPV can infect parts of the body not covered by a condom and therefore may be transferred during sexual contact.
In women cervical cancer is the second most common women’s cancer. In most women HPV will not cause cervical cancer and having the vaccine will reduce the risk. The vaccine protects against two of the main types of HPV that cause cervical cancer but does not protect against all types so it is important as girls get older they have regular smear tests (cervical screening).
HPV vaccine has been given to girls in the UK between the age of 12 and 13 since 2008. From the 1st September 2019 boys will also be given HPV in order to protect them from HPV related diseases and to help reduce the overall number of cervical cancers in women through a process known as ‘herd immunity’.
The injection is given in two doses. The vaccination and immunisation team will contact you through school in year 8 for the first dose and again in year 9 to offer the second. It is important to have both doses to be protected.
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If you have any questions about HPV vaccine, please get in touch with the team. Contact details are on our contact us page.