A vaccine against the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) was introduced in 2007. It is currently given free to both girls and boys aged 12-13 years. Young people of this age are targeted for vaccination because it is best given before sexual activity begins.
There are two HPV vaccinations, delivered at school six months apart by a qualified immunisation provider. It is best that you get both doses to have a better chance of beating the virus, although none of these vaccinations are compulsory.
The first dose of the vaccine will be given either at school in year 7 or 8 or possibly at a doctor's surgery. The second dose will be given within 6 months.
If you delay getting the vaccination to 15 years or older, you will need to have three doses of the HPV vaccine. Only two doses are covered for free under the National Immunisation Program, so check with your doctor.
Changes to cervical screening
From 1 December 2017 the National Cervical Screening Program will change to improve early detection. The current 2 yearly Pap test will change to a 5 yearly HPV test.
What should I do before 1 December 2017?
If you are a woman aged 18 to 69, you should continue to have your regular Pap test every 2 years.
When will I be due for my first HPV test?
Women will be due for the first HPV test 2 years after their last Pap test.
Read more about changes to National Cervical Screening Program
Last reviewed: March 2019