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Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the name of a very common group of viruses. They do not cause any problems in most people, but some types can cause genital warts or cancer.

Symptoms:

  • Generally, no symptoms and most people do not realise they have it and have no problems.

Girls and boys aged 12 – 13 years (born after 1 September 2006) are offered the HPV vaccine which helps protect against cancers caused by HPV, including:

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

Because the HPV vaccine doesn’t protect against all types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer, it’s important that all girls who receive the HPV vaccine also have regular screening once they reach the age of 25.

There are more than 100 different types of HPV virus that can affect different parts of the body.

You can catch HPV from any skin-to-skin contact of the genital area, vaginal, anal or oral sex and from sharing sex toys.