HPV is a virus you can get during sex. Condoms don’t protect against HPV. Have you ever had sex? Then you may have the virus in your body.
HPV doesn’t usually cause any damage. And the virus goes away by itself. But some types of HPV can cause cancer later in life. Another type causes genital warts. You can get free vaccination against HPV. That greatly reduces the risk of you developing cancer.
You don’t usually notice you have HPV. Symptoms you may have are:
- Warts on your penis, vagina or anus. These are called genital warts.
- Vaginal bleeding, perhaps after sex. That could be a symptom of cervical cancer. But this is very rare among young women. Usually bleeding is caused by another STI, like chlamydia. Or something else that isn’t serious. Read about causes of contact bleeding.
Your symptoms might also be caused by something else. If you have any symptoms, go and see your doctor. Don’t wait too long before making an appointment.
HPV and cancer
There are different types of HPV. Some of these can lead to you developing cancer. Young women can get cervical cancer, vaginal cancer or vulval cancer. Young men can get cancer of the penis. And all young people can get cancer of the throat or anus.
You can protect yourself by getting vaccinated: an HPV vaccination. Then there is much less risk of you developing cancer.
Do you have genital warts? These are caused by a different type of HPV. This HPV virus doesn’t increase the risk of cancer.
HPV usually goes away by itself. So you don’t need to go to the doctor or take any medicines.
You can have the HPV vaccine. Getting vaccinated will greatly reduce the risk of you developing cancer caused by HPV. If you were born between 1 January 1996 and 31 December 2003, then vaccination is free.
Have you not yet been vaccinated and would you like to have the vaccine? Make an appointment at the GGD
If you were NOT born between 1 January 1996 and 31 December 2003, then make an appointment with your doctor. You will have to pay for the vaccination yourself.
This vaccine doesn’t protect you against genital warts. You can be vaccinated against genital warts, but that vaccine is not free. If you want to do that, talk to your doctor about it.