HPV (also called human papillomavirus) is a viral infection that is sexually transmitted. It can cause cancers and genital warts.
Vaccination is a safe and effective way to protect you from HPV.
Who should get vaccinated against HPV
Anyone who wants to protect themselves against HPV can talk to their vaccination provider about getting vaccinated.
The Australian Immunisation Handbook recommends HPV vaccination for specific groups including:
- adolescents aged 9–18 years
- people with significant immunocompromising conditions
- men who have sex with men.
HPV vaccine is free under the National Immunisation Program through school-based programs for children aged 12-13.
Eligible people under 20 years old and refugees and other humanitarian entrants of any age can get 2 doses of HPV vaccine free. This is if they did not receive the vaccines at school and it is recommended to receive the vaccine.
HPV vaccines should not be given to:
- people who have had anaphylaxis after a previous dose of any HPV vaccine or anaphylaxis after any component of an HPV vaccine
- people who have had anaphylaxis to yeast (for 9vHPV).
HPV vaccines are not recommended for pregnant women.
Read more about Getting vaccinated.
When to get the HPV vaccine
The best time to be vaccinated against HPV is before you become sexually active. People who have had sexual contact may have been infected with some types of HPV already. If you have already been infected with any of the HPV types included in the HPV vaccine, the vaccine will not protect you against HPV-related cancers and disease caused by that HPV type. But you will be protected against the other types contained in the vaccine. There are 9 types covered in the vaccine provided through the NIP, including the four strains most likely to cause severe disease.
Most young people get vaccinated at school. See also Immunisation for adolescents.
How to get vaccinated against HPV
HPV vaccines come as a single vaccine, not as a combination vaccine.
HPV vaccines include:
*Indicates National Immunisation Program vaccine.
Your vaccination provider will tell you which vaccine they will give you.
Find product information and consumer medicine information for each available vaccine from the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
Where to get vaccinated
You can get your vaccine from a range of vaccination providers. Find out where and more about your vaccination visit at getting vaccinated.
Possible side effects of HPV vaccination
You may experience minor side effects following vaccination. Most reactions are mild and last no more than a couple of days and you will recover without any problems.
Common side effects of HPV vaccines include:
- pain, redness and swelling at injection site
- mild fever
- mild headache
- mild nausea.
Talk to your vaccination provider about possible side effects of HPV vaccines, or if after having a HPV vaccine you or your child have symptoms that worry you.
The Consumer Medicine Information available on the Therapeutic Goods Administration website lists the ingredients and side effects of each vaccine.
Learn more about the possible side effects of vaccination.