Human papillomavirus (HPV) can be spread from one person to another during sexual activity. There are more than 100 types of HPV and most are harmless. However, some ‘high risk’ types are known to cause cancer and are responsible for almost all cancers of the cervix in women.
In Northern Ireland, all girls between the ages of 12 and 13 are offered vaccination against the ‘high risk’ types of HPV that cause 70% of cervical cancer cases and 90% of genital warts cases.
Studies have shown that the HPV vaccine is very effective at stopping some cancers of the cervix from developing.
Find out more about HPV in girls and women.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) aged under 45 years and who attend GUM or HIV clinics can also receive the same vaccination against ‘high risk’ types of HPV.
Studies have shown that MSM aged up to 45 years who attend GUM or HIV clinics are at greater risk of HPV-associated cancers and genital warts. The HPV vaccine helps prevent infection that can cause genital warts and HPV-associated cancers. It’s especially important for those who have multiple sexual partners.