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HealthInfo Canterbury

HPV & cervical cancer vaccine (Gardasil)

FDP teen girls on beachThe human papilloma virus or HPV is an extremely common virus that infects different areas of your skin. Most people will get HPV at some point in their lives.

There are more than 100 different types of HPV. Most types do not give any symptoms and will go away before causing any problems.

However, HPV types 6 and 11 cause genital warts and HPV types 16 and 18 can cause abnormal changes to cells, particularly on the cervix, that can lead to cancer. This type of HPV is called high-risk HPV.

The Gardasil vaccine protects against these types of HPV infection and so reduces your chances of getting genital warts or cervical cancer. The injection is free to girls, boys, young women and young men in New Zealand from the ages of 9 to 26. For those aged 9 to 14, it involves two injections. For those aged 15 to 26, it involves three injections. The injections are usually spread over six months. The vaccination works best to protect you from HPV if you have it before you start having any form of sexual contact.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Canterbury DHB. Updated December 2016.

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See also:

Immunisation for older children

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Page reference: 53205

Review key: HICES-20461