Join the fight against
certain HPV cancers

Be a warrior, not a worrier

Website developed, funded and provided by MSD. It is intended to provide general educational information and does not take the place of professional medical advice.

Boy and Girl supporting HPV Wise vaccination

The power to help prevent HPV is in your hands.

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Jay looking up.

What is HPV?

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, will infect most people at some point in their lives, making HPV the most common sexually transmitted infection, or STI, among males and females of all ages.

HPV is a common virus that can affect both boys and girls. It is passed via skin-to-skin contact and is often found on the fingers, hands, mouth and genitals.

HPV is often symptomless, and the body will usually fight it off itself. However, this is not always the case.

While some HPV types are harmless, other types can cause damage to cells that may cause abnormal growth, which can lead to:

  • Genital warts
  • Cervical cancer
  • Anal cancer
There are more than100different types of HPV
And around40of these affect the genital area

Boys and girls, take up arms against HPV

Vaccination against HPV can help prevent infections, meaning you can defend yourself against damage to cells that can turn into certain cancers or genital warts.

Look out for more information from your school.

You do not have to be vaccinated against HPV if you do not want to, but it is a good idea to discuss any questions or concerns with:

  • Your parents/carers
  • The school immunisation team
  • Your GP or practice nurse
Boy and Girl supporting HPV Wise vaccination
Dotted path with calendare and vaccine images

Why do I need to be vaccinated now?

As a teenager, your immune system is geared up and ready to fight. Your risk of having had HPV is also much lower than when you are older.
Getting vaccinated now means you could reduce your risk of genital warts or certain cancers caused by HPV.
Vaccination against HPV is most effective when given before any exposure to HPV viruses, so it is first offered to 12-13 year olds (school year 8/S1).
If you are aged 12–13, you can fight back against HPV as part of the NHS National Immunisation Programme (NIP).
HPV vaccination is given as a free injection in the upper arm. This injection will help to protect you against HPV infection and reduce your risk of genital warts and certain cancers in the future.
Girl looking up

What else do I need to know?

Vaccinescan only be used in people once they have been proven to be effective. Importantly, it must be confirmed that the benefits of having the vaccines outweigh any risks.
More than80 million
have received
vaccination against HPV worldwide between 2006 and 2022.

What about side effects?

As with any vaccines and medicines, HPV vaccinations may cause side effects which affect people differently. Some people don’t have any side effects after HPV vaccination.

The most common side effects are:
  • Redness, swelling or pain at the site of injection
  • Headaches
Some people might get:
  • Bruising or itching at the site of the injection
  • A high temperature or feeling hot and shivery
  • Feeling sick (nausea)
  • Pain in the arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet or toes
Question mark in circle.
Want to find out more about how you can fight back against HPV?Ask your school immunisation team or doctor if you have any questions or concerns

The power to help prevent HPV is in your hands.

Be a warrior, not a worrier

Jay and Amber with raised hands.

May 2023


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