What is HPV?
HPV stands for Human Papillomavirus. It is a common virus that affects both males and females.
HPV is very easy to catch and four out of five people will have a HPV infection at some point in their lives. It is passed on from one person to another through sexual contact and most people who have the virus don’t even know that they have it.
Different types of HPV can affect different parts of the body, and some types are more harmful than others. HPV can cause a range of cancers, as well as genital warts. HPV infection can be prevented by vaccination.
What you need to know about the HPV vaccination
The free HPV vaccine is available to males and females in early high school. The vaccine protects against a range of cancers and disease that are caused by HPV.
The HPV vaccine
The HPV vaccine gives the body protection against some of the types of HPV that we know cause cancers and disease.
The vaccine has been tested and used worldwide. In fact, there have been more than nine million doses of the vaccine distributed in Australia alone.
The vaccine is given through an injection in a muscle (usually the arm), and is given in three doses. It is really important that the three doses of the vaccine are completed to give the best protection.
How do I get the HPV vaccine?
Your school will give you some information about the vaccine and a consent form. Your parent or guardian has to give permission for you to participate in the program. Your school will schedule the three doses during the school year.
If you are outside the eligible age group, you and your parent/guardian can talk to your doctor about the HPV vaccine.
What do I need to do?
You can help stop the spread of HPV-related cancers and disease just by getting the vaccine!
- Read up about HPV by visiting:
- Immunise Australia Program
- Your state or territory’s school immunisation program website
- Get permission from your parent or guardian by returning the consent form to your school
- Get all three doses to receive the best protection
Other questions about HPV and the vaccine
Why should I get the HPV vaccine?
The HPV vaccine is one of the simplest and most effective ways we have of protecting against cancer. It is a great way to protect yourself as well as those around you. Since Australia started vaccinating against HPV in 2007, there have been big reductions in HPV infections, pre-cancers (the step before cancer) and genital warts -this is fantastic news!
Will getting the vaccine hurt? / Will it make me sick?
As you have grown up, you have received many vaccines to protect you from serious diseases. This one won’t be any different.
Like most injections, you might get some mild side effects like soreness and redness at the injection site, feeling faint or a mild temperature – but these should go away soon after. Tell the nurse at your school if you get any other symptoms or if you feel unwell.
What if I miss one of the doses?
It is important that you have all three doses of the vaccine. If you miss one, talk to your school about what you need to do.
For more information visit Immunise Australia Program