Human Papillomavirus

Research shows that infection with HPV is a significant risk factor for head and neck cancer. Sexual activity with a person who has HPV is the most common way someone gets HPV. There are different types of HPV, called strains. Generally, HPV related tumours react well to Radiotherapy/Chemotherapy with high recovery rates in patients.

There is an NHS vaccination programme available for free to all children aged 12 to 13 years (school year 8), to reduce future occurrences of cancers associated with HPV.

If you missed getting vaccinated when you were 12 or 13, the HPV vaccine is available for free on the NHS for:

  • all girls under 25
  • boys born after 1 September 2006

Contact your school nurse, school vaccination team or GP surgery if you or your child were eligible for the HPV vaccine but did not get vaccinated.

Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men are at higher risk from HPV. If you’re a man under 45 who has sex with men and you attend a sexual health or HIV clinic, you can get vaccinated against HPV. You’re eligible for the vaccine up until your 45th birthday.

The HPV vaccine is also sometimes recommended for other people at higher risk from HPV, such as:

  • any transgender people who are felt to have the same risk as men who have sex with men
  • sex workers
  • people with HIV