Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV, also known as Human Papillomavirus, is a common virus that affects both males and females, which is passed from person to person through sexual contact. HPV can stay in the body for years, causing changes to cells that can lead to a wide range of HPV-related cancers and other serious diseases.

What causes HPV?

HPV infects both men and women. The virus is spread through intimate contact during sexual activity.

Condoms offer some but not total protection from HPV, as they don't cover all of the genital skin. They do offer protection from many other sexually transmitted infections though, and help prevent unwanted pregnancy.

You can be exposed to HPV the first time sexual activity occurs, from only one sexual partner.

Is it serious?

HPV can cause cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, anus, some head and neck cancers, and genital warts.

What are the symptoms?

Most people with HPV have no symptoms. This means that people infected with HPV often do not know they have it, and can continue transmitting the virus to others. Detection can only be done through screening, speak to you GP or health provider about screening and early detection.

Is there any treatment?

There is currently no treatment for HPV.

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How can I protect myself?

Vaccinating against HPV provides highly effective protection against the development of HPV-related cancers and disease.

Regular Pap tests for females are still essential because the HPV vaccine does not protect against all cervical cancers.

National HPV Vaccination Program

The HPV vaccine is provided free in schools to all males and females aged 12-13 years under the National HPV Vaccination Program.

More information

Visit the HPV Register website or call 1800 478 734.