Skip to main content

HPV Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need screening as I have had the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination?

Yes. The HPV vaccine protects against the two types of HPV (16 and 18) that cause 70% of cervical cancer. The vaccine does not protect against all HPV types that can cause cervical cancer, so it is important to have cervical screening when you are invited.

My cervical screening test showed that I have HPV. Does my husband/partner need to be tested?

No your husband/partner does not need to be tested. HPV is very common, and we do not know how long you may have had it. Your partner is also likely to have had HPV, and they may still have it, or their body may have dealt with it.

It usually causes no symptoms and we do not test for it in men. If you are in a same-sex relationship, then we would always advise that your partner/wife attend for cervical screening (a smear test) when they are due

My cervical screening test result says I have HPV. I have been married for many years - how can I have HPV? I am confused and worried.

HPV can lie dormant (sleeping) in our bodies for many years and may never cause any cell changes. If it is found on a cervical screening test, we cannot say how long it has been there. Some people may never get rid of it.


We know that suddenly finding out you have HPV now can cause some people to worry about their partners. It is important to know that the virus can stay for many years and never cause any problems for either partner.

 The virus might cause cell changes many years later. This is why it is important to keep going for screening when you are invited, even if your tests have always been normal.

My cervical screening test showed I have HPV. Can I still have sex and should we use condoms?

Yes, you can still have sex and you do not need to start using condoms if you have not used them before.

If you are in a new relationship then it is always important to think about using condoms and getting a sexual health check, as there are other infections which can cause problems.

My cervical screening test showed that I have HPV. Could I pass it on to my child?

HPV usually passes from person to person through sexual contact. There is a very small chance of passing HPV onto a baby during childbirth, but this seems to be rare.

If my body gets rid of HPV, can I get the HPV vaccine?

If you have already come into contact with the HPV types that are in the vaccine it may not give you any more protection against another infection. However, we do not know exactly what type of HPV you may have now, or have had in the past. This means that the vaccine might offer some benefit to some people.

 It is a very safe vaccine. It is offered to girls and boys aged 12-13, men who have sex with men and some transgender people. 

If you did want to have the vaccine, this means you would need to pay for it. Some GPs and pharmacists will offer this service.

If you are under 25 and did not have the vaccine when you were younger, you can have it for no charge with your GP.

My cervical screening test result says that I have HPV. Should my child be vaccinated?

Your child will be offered the vaccine in School year 8. They do not need to have it before then.

The vaccine is very safe, so it is important to have it if it is offered.