What is it?

HPV is a common sexually transmitted infection that can affect both men and women causing cancer of the cervix (in females), other anogenital cancers and certain cancers of the mouth and throat (in both males and females) as well as genital warts (in both males and females). Most HPV infections have no clinical symptoms. This means that people infected with HPV often do not know they have it, and can continue transmitting the virus to others.

How is it transmitted?

HPV is a highly contagious virus that is transmitted through different forms of sexual contact.

Vaccination to prevent infection?

The National HPV Vaccination Program began in 2007 for females, and was extended to include males in 2013. Since 2007, the National HPV Vaccination Program has been credited with dramatically reducing the incidence of the HPV virus in Australia.

Vaccinating against HPV provides highly effective protection against the development of HPV-related cancers and diseases.

The best time to be vaccinated is before a person becomes sexually active.

National HPV Vaccination Program

From January 2018, individuals aged approximately 12 to 14 years will be offered the 9-valent HPV vaccine (Gardasil®9) in a 2-dose schedule (6 -12 months apart) through school based programs.

Gardasil®9 replaces the 4-valent HPV vaccine (Gardasil®), for which a 3-dose schedule has been used.  Gardasil®9 includes the HPV types covered by Gardasil® (6, 11, 16 and 18) plus an additional five oncogenic HPV types (31, 33, 45, 52 and 58).

NB: Immunocompromised individuals require a 3 dose course of Gardasil 9® for protection which should be administered at 0, 2 and 6 months.


Authors: Nigel Crawford (Director, SAEFVIC, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute), Georgie Lewis (SAEFVIC Clinical Manager, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute) and Rachael McGuire (SAEFVIC Research Nurse, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute)

Reviewed by: Rachael McGuire (SAEFVIC Research Nurse, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute)

Date: July 2020

Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Melbourne Vaccine Education Centre (MVEC) staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.

You should not consider the information in this site to be specific, professional medical advice for your personal health or for your family’s personal health. For medical concerns, including decisions about vaccinations, medications and other treatments, you should always consult a healthcare professional.