HPV Briefing for Schools

Date: 30 May 2024

Swindon's Health Protection Team has offered the following briefing:

What is HPV?

HPV stands for Human Papillomavirus. There are over 100 different types of this virus, and most people will come into contact with it at some point during their life. The HPV virus spread through skin contact (usually when having sex).

Most types of HPV are harmless. But some types are linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer. Often people do not know they have had it, and may not have any health problems. Most infections are cleared by your body within 2 years, but for some, where it remains in the body, symptoms may present after many years.

How does the vaccination protect you?

The HPV vaccine helps protect against human papillomavirus (HPV). It's recommended for children aged 12 to 13 years old and people at higher risk from HPV.

Both boys and girls are protected, and since the vaccination programme started 15 years ago there are:
– 90% fewer cases of cervical cancer in women in their 20-‘s who received the vaccination when they were 12/13 years old
– 85% fewer cases of genital wards in girls
– 80% fewer cases of genital warts in heterosexual boys
The vaccination is 99% effective at preventing genital warts
The vaccination has been shown to prevent 99% of pre-cancerous lesions, preventing cervical cancer from developing.

How can I be vaccinated?