Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus. There are many
different types of HPV, and some of these particularly affect the
genital region in men and women. Infection with certain types of
HPV can cause a number of conditions in the genital region,
including cervical cancer, which is the most common HPV related
cancer in Australia. The 'high risk' HPV types, HPV 16 and
HPV 18 are associated with most cases of cervical cancer.
Most HPV infections do not cause any symptoms and will clear on
their own. In a small number of women, the infection will persist,
and can lead to cell changes in the cervix. Pap smears are used to
find any abnormal cell changes.
Genital HPV types are easily spread during most types of sexual
activity. In sexually active women, a very important
preventative measure against cervical cancer is regular Pap
This section focuses on cervical cancer; for information on
other HPV related diseases, see question 6.
The content of this website is currently under review.
General vaccination recommendations listed on this site may not
fully reflect the most recent advice in the 10th Edition of the
Australian Immunisation Handbook, which was released in April 2013.
Please speak to your healthcare professional for individual