Human papilloma virus (HPV) is a common virus transmitted through sexual contact. As much as half the population will be infected by HPV at some point in their lives. In the majority of cases the body’s immune system will clear the virus without the need for treatment and often without knowing you have contracted the virus.
Different types of HPV cause different symptoms with some HPV subtypes causing abnormal cells to develop in the cervix which can lead to cervical cancer.
A HPV vaccine has been introduced that provides protection against two types of HPV that are responsible for more than 70% of cervical cancers in the UK. The vaccine is routinely offered to secondary school girls aged 12 and 13.
Vaccinated women should continue accepting offers of cervical screening once they turn 25.
For more information about HPV and the HPV vaccine visit the NHS Choices website.