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HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination

The HPV vaccine can prevent diseases caused by the human papillomavirus

The HPV vaccine is a vaccination that protects against diseases caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer, the second most common cancer in women under the age of thirty-five.

At Circle Health Group, we offer two vaccinations that can prevent diseases caused by some strains of HPV.

Call or book online today to arrange a consultation to discuss private HPV vaccination with a consultant of your choice at Circle Health Group.

This page explains what the HPV vaccine is, what it protects against and who should have it.

Human papillomavirus or HPV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is spread through any kind of sexual contact with an infected person.

HPV is common and it is estimated that up to 46% of sexually active adults have the virus. Most people don't have any symptoms and in many cases people don't know they have it.

There are over 100 strains of HPV, most of which are not harmful and clear up without treatment. Some strains of HPV, known as high-risk HPV, can lead to serious health conditions like cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer affects around 3,000 women a year in the UK and around 1,000 women a year die from the condition. 99.7% of cervical cancer cases are caused by HPV.

What diseases does HPV cause?

Infection with high-risk HPV can cause changes to our cells that can lead to certain cancers including:

Other types of HPV can cause:

  • Genital warts
  • Non genital warts or verrucas
  • Laryngeal papillomas (warts on the voice box or vocal cords)

At your first consultation, you will be seen by a consultant gynaecologist, a doctor specialising in conditions affecting the female reproductive system. Your consultant will ask you some questions about your age, general health, medical history and whether or not you are sexually active.

At Circle Health Group, your first appointment is very important as it's where we get to know you and encourage you to ask any questions you may have. It is important to us that you are as well-informed and comfortable as possible during your time with us, so please ask your consultant as many questions as you like during your consultation.

At the end of your appointment, your consultant will discuss the HPV vaccine with you, including all the risks and benefits and whether the vaccine is suitable for you.

The HPV vaccine (Gardasil 9) protects against nine strains of HPV including the viruses that most commonly cause cervical cancer, most anal cancers and some genital, head, and neck cancers.

HPV vaccines are extremely effective and offer protection against over 90% of cancers caused by HPV. Protection is thought to last for at least ten years.

The HPV vaccine does not contain the HPV virus, but virus-like particles (VLPs) that stimulate the production of antibodies in the body. If you are exposed to HPV in the future, these antibodies bind to the virus and stop it from infecting cells.

You should still have regular cervical smear tests even if you have received your HPV vaccine as the vaccine doesn't protect against all forms of HPV that can cause cervical cancer.

HPV vaccination is recommended for both girls and boys and should ideally be given before you become sexually active.

In the UK, the first dose of the HPV vaccine is routinely offered to girls and boys ages twelve to thirteen, and the second dose is given between six and twenty-four months later.

If you have not received your HPV vaccine, you can have your vaccination up to the age of twenty-six.

If you are aged between twenty-seven and forty-five and are not vaccinated against HPV, talk to your consultant about whether or not they recommend vaccination.

The HPV vaccine is not recommended if you are:

  • Allergic to the HPV vaccine or any of its ingredients
  • Pregnant
  • Have a moderate to severe health condition
  • Allergic to yeast

The HPV vaccine is a generally safe medication, but it may cause mild side effects including:

  • Inflammation (pain, redness and swelling) at the injection site
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness

Rarely, the HPV vaccine can cause a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms after your HPV vaccine.

  • Swelling of the face, lips, eyelids, and tongue
  • Raised itchy rash (hives)
  • Chest or throat tightness
  • Difficulty breathing or talking
  • Wheezing (noisy breathing)
  • Fainting
  • Collapse

We answer some of your most frequently asked questions about HPV vaccination.

When did the HPV vaccine come out?

In the UK, the HPV vaccine was introduced in September 2008.

When is the HPV vaccine given?

The HPV vaccine is normally given between the ages of twelve and thirteen but can be given as young as nine. You can get the HPV vaccine up to the age of twenty-six. For the vaccine to be most effective, it's best to have it before you become sexually active.

How many HPV vaccinations do you need?

You need two doses of the HPV vaccine at least six months apart to be fully protected against human papillomavirus.

Can you have the HPV vaccine if you're already sexually active?

Yes. You should still have the HPV vaccine if you are sexually active as it can offer protection from strains of HPV that you have not yet been exposed to.

Do males need to get the HPV vaccine?

Yes. The HPV vaccine is recommended for boys as well as girls as it offers protection against cancers that can affect men such as cancer of the anus, penis, head, and neck.

Can I get the HPV vaccine while pregnant?

There is currently insufficient evidence on whether the HPV vaccine can harm your unborn baby. You should delay having the HPV vaccine until after your pregnancy.

At Circle Health Group we have the experience and expertise to ensure the best possible care and outcome for our patients. As a patient with Circle Health Group, you can expect the highest standards of care including:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations that are convenient for you
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Private ensuite rooms as standard
  • A range of delicious healthy meals
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to see a consultant or learn more about HPV vaccination, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in March 2023. Next review due March 2026.

  1. HPV vaccine overview, NHS
  2. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know, CDC
  3. Information on HPV vaccination,
  4. HPV vaccine, NHS Inform

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