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Infection Information Sheet - Human Papillomavirus

Human Papillomavirus Vaccination, 18-49 Years

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 smears.

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 vaccination advice.

Q&A

Q1.
Human Papillomavirus - What is it?

Q2.
Human Papillomavirus - How it is spread?

Q3.
Human Papillomavirus - Who is at risk?

Q4.
Human Papillomavirus - Infection of the cervix

Q5.
Human Papilloamvirus - Vaccination Recommendations

Q6.
Genital warts and other HPV related diseases

 

Did you know?

"Certain ‘high risk’ HPV types - most commonly HPV types 16 and 18, can cause cervical cancer. "
Important Information

Current HPV vaccines do not protect against all cancer causing types of HPV. They will also not have any effect on HPV infections acquired before vaccination. So, although your risk is reduced, it is still possible to develop cervical cancer, even after vaccination. Therefore, regular Pap tests are recommended for all sexually active women from the age of 18 - 69 years of age, even if they have been vaccinated.
If you are in a sexual relationship, or are considering being in one, speak to your doctor about how to reduce your risk of HPV infection and cervical cancer. Your doctor will advise you on whether HPV vaccination is appropriate for you.
If you need more information about HPV or cervical cancer, please speak with your doctor.
Before receiving any vaccination, it is important to tell your healthcare professional if you are pregnant, or intend to become pregnant or are breastfeeding.