Skip to main content Skip to accessibility
This website is not compatible with your web browser. You should install a newer browser. If you live in Jersey and need help upgrading call the States of Jersey web team on 440099.
Government of

Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

About HPV infection and HPV vaccination

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection

HPV is a very common virus that is sexually transmitted. Most people will be infected by HPV at some time in their life. It’s spread through close skin to skin contact during any type of sexual activity with a man or woman. 

HPV can stay in the body for many years. It can stay at very low or undetectable levels and not cause any problems. This means an HPV infection may have come from a partner a long time ago. In most people, their immune system can get rid of the virus without them ever knowing they had it. 

There are many different types of HPV and only some high-risk types can lead to cancer. For some women, instead of their immune system clearing the infection, HPV can cause cells in the cervix to become abnormal. High-risk HPV types are now known to cause almost all cases of cervical cancer.  Women who don’t clear high-risk HPV infection may develop pre-cancerous changes to the cells of the cervix. If the cell changes aren't treated, these can develop into cervical cancer. 

In men, high-risk HPV types can cause more rare cancers, such as cancer of the anus, penis, head and neck.

HPV myths explained

The truth behind some of the most commonly believed HPV myths 

​HPV myth 
​Truth explained

​HPV is rare

​Quite the opposite. It's actually really common. Four in every five people (80%) will have the virus at some point in their lives. This is why removing stigma around the virus is so important.

​You will know if you have HPV

​False. HPV normally has no signs or symptoms, so it is very difficult to tell if you have it. By attending your regular cervical screening test, high-risk HPV infection and any abnormalities caused by the infection can be identified and treated.

​Only promiscuous people get HPV

​This is not true, you can get HPV the very first time you have sexual contact. HPV is passed on through skin to skin contact of the genital area. If you have ever had any kind of sexual contact, you are at risk. If you have had several sexual partners, or one of your partners has, you have a higher chance of coming into contact with the virus. 

​If you use condoms you won't get HPV

​Not true! Wearing condoms will reduce your risk of getting the virus. However, HPV can live on the skin in and around the whole genital area, which will not be covered by a condom. It can be transmitted through sexual contact of any kind including any touching or genital to genital contact, as well as oral, vaginal and anal sex.

​There's no relationship between smoking and HPV infection

​Smoking is a major risk factor for developing cervical cancer! If you smoke your immune system around the cells of the cervix may be weakened, making it harder for the body to prevent and clear high-risk HPV infections which could cause abnormal cells to develop. 

​The HPV vaccine means you won't get HPV

​Wrong although the HPV vaccination prevents the majority of cervical cancers, it is still possible to contract types of HPV which the vaccine does not prevent. A minority of women infected with these types of HPV may go on to develop cervical cancer. This is much less likely if you attend for regular cervical screening.

HPV vaccine school programme

​​Nurses will attend all schools in through January and February. 

You should receive a leaflet, letter, and consent form from your child’s school. 

It's important to return the consent form to school as soon as possible, as consent forms need to be filled in even if you do not consent to the vaccine being given. 

On the day the nurses attend the school, each child will be given the vaccine in a private booth. If your child is absent on the day of the vaccine, there will be an opportunity to come to a catch-up clinic in the hospital. Details of this will be sent home from school. 

Nurses have also attended most schools to educate students on HPV and the vaccine. However, if you would like to discuss further, you can contact the Immunisations Team by phone on 01534 443741 or email​

2024 school dates for HPV vaccination

Les QuennevaisMonday 29 January
Le RocquierTuesday 30 January
JCGWednesday 31 January
BeaulieuThursday 1 February
De La SalleFriday 2 February, morning
Mont a L'AbbeFriday 2 February, afternoon
Haute ValleeMonday 5 February
GrainvilleTuesday 6 February
St MichaelsWednesday 7 February
Victoria CollegeThursday 8 February

What the HPV vaccine protects ​against

The HPV vaccine is effective at stopping people getting the types of HPV infection that cause most cervical cancers and some anal and genital cancers and cancers of the head and neck.

Girls who have the HPV vaccine reduce their risk of getting cervical cancer by over 70%. It protects against:

  • ​HPV types 16 and 18 that cause more than 74% of cervical cancer cases
  • HPV types 6 and 11 that cause about 90% of cases of genital warts

Since September 2019, boys have been offered HPV vaccine in school year 8 at the same time as girls. This will protect boys against:

  • ​HPV types 16 and 18 that can cause cancers affecting men, such as cancer of the anus, penis, head and neck
  • HPV types 6 and 11 that cause about 90% of cases of genital warts

Since HPV vaccine was introduced for girls in 2008, this has indirectly helped to protect boys against these types of cancer and genital warts. This is because vaccinated girls will not pass HPV on to them, this is known as herd protection.

The number of genital wart infections in the UK has already fallen in both girls and boys because of the girls' vaccination programme.

A catch-up vaccination programme for older boys is not necessary as evidence suggests they're already benefitting greatly from the indirect protection that's built up from over 10 years of the girls' HPV vaccination programme.

More information about the HPV vaccine is available on the NHS Choices website​.

​Vaccine safety

We use the Gardasil brand of the vaccine, the same as the UK. 

The vaccine had extensive studies and clinical trials before it was licensed for use and, like all medicines, continues to be monitored. ​

Tens of millions of doses have been given around the world and it's safety is well established.​ You can find out more about the HPV vaccine safety on NHS Choices website

​Side effects of the vaccination​

As with all vaccinations, it's not uncommon to experience mild soreness in the arm. This wears off within a day or two. ​More serious side effects are extremely rare. 

More information a​bout side effects is available on the NHS Choices ​website.

Cervical screening

The HPV vaccine doesn't protect against all types of HPV. It's important that vaccinated girls still attend for cervical screening when reaching age 25.​​ We anticipate that in the future, women who received HPV vaccine as schoolgirls will require fewer cervical screening tests in their lifetime compared to those who did not receive HPV vaccine.

Back to top
rating button