Human Papillomavirus (HPV)


The 2016/17 Scottish uptake rates for the HPV vaccine (external website) are now available.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine helps protect against cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine is offered to girls from age 11 years at secondary schools across Scotland. The vaccine is designed to protect against the two types of HPV that can cause 75% of the cases of cervical cancer.

The vaccine doesn't protect against all other types of HPV that cause cancer, therefore uptake of regular cervical screening (smear tests) from the age of 25 years is important. The combination of immunisation and cervical screening offers the best possible protection against cervical cancer.

HPV is very common and you catch it through intimate sexual contact with another person who already has it. Because it is so common, most people will get infected at some point in their lifetime. In most women the virus does not cause cervical cancer, but having the vaccine is important because we do not know who is at risk.

For members of the public, more information is available at


The Gardasil Patient Information Leaflet (external website) is contained in the box with the vaccine and should be given to girls when they receive their vaccine.

CMO Letter for HPV

The Chief Medical Officer letter (external link) about the human papillomavirus immunisation September 2014 onwards.

NHS inform

For advice and information about HPV and cervical cancer, call:

0800 22 44 88

Textphone 18001 0800 22 44 88

Line is open Monday to Friday 8am–10pm, Saturday and Sunday 9am–5pm.

Updated 22 December 2017

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