HPV Vaccine

HPV vaccine overview

Girls and boys aged 12 to 13 years are offered the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine as part of the NHS vaccination program.

The HPV vaccine helps protect against cancers caused by high risk strains of HPV, including:

  • Cervical cancer
  • Some mouth and throat (head and neck) cancers
  • Some cancers of the anal and genital areas

It also helps protect against low risk strains which cause genital warts.

In England, girls and boys aged 12 to 13 years are routinely offered the 1st HPV vaccination when they’re in school Year 8. The 2nd dose is offered 6 to 24 months after the 1st dose.

It’s important to have both doses of the vaccine to be properly protected.

If you’re eligible and missed the HPV vaccine in school Year 8, you can have it free on the NHS up until your 25th birthday.


What is HPV?

HPV is the name given to a very common group of viruses.

There are many types of HPV, some of which are called “high risk” because they’re linked to the development of cancers, such as cervical cancer, anal cancer, genital cancers, and cancers of the head and neck.

Other types can cause conditions like genital warts.

High risk types of HPV can be found in more than 99% of cervical cancers.

There is an association between HPV and some of the anal and genital cancers, and cancers of the head and neck.

HPV infections do not usually cause any symptoms, and most people will not know they’re infected, most of the time the body clears the infection within 2 years of coming into contact with the virus, but when it doesn’t it can lead to compilations.

The best way to be protected from HPV is to receive the vaccination early in life, before people become sexually active, that is why the vaccination is offered routinely in schools from the age of 12.

Watch the video below for more information on HPV and the HPV vaccination: