Human papillomavirus (HPV) – Coventry City Council

HPV is the name of a very common group of viruses. They do not cause any problems, in most people, but some types can cause genital warts or even cancer.

Many types of HPV affect the mouth, throat and genitalia, the HPV virus is easily transmitted and has no symptoms, therefore, you may never know that you have it. However, HPV is very common and according to NHS documentation, most people will have some type of HPV in their lifetime.

However, some types of HPV can cause cervical cancer, anal cancer, cancer of the penis, vulval cancer, vaginal cancer and some types of head and neck cancer.

HPV testing is part of the national cervical screening programme. During cervical screening, a small sample of cells is taken from the cervix and tested for HPV. Cervical screening is offered to all women, with a cervix, aged 25 to 64 to help protect them against cervical cancer. In addition, the  UK immunisation programme has implemented HPV vaccinations to help protect against  HPV for girls and boys aged 12 to 13 years (born after 1 September 2006) as part of the NHS vaccination programme.

Most HPV infections do not cause any problems and are cleared by your body within two years but sometimes treatment is needed, for example, for genital warts or changes to cells in the cervix.

If you require additional information, then please use the resource links contact your GP or sexual health clinic for further advice.

Useful resources


Human papillomavirus as a driver of head and neck cancers

What is cervical screening?

HPV vaccine overview

Integrated Sexual Health Service: City of Coventry Health Centre. Tel: 0300 020 0027

Wednesday, 2nd February 2022

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