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Who should have the HPV vaccine?

There are two human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programmes in Wales.

One is for children who are 12 to 13 years of age, and one is for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM) up to 45 years of age.

The universal HPV vaccination programme

Girls and boys aged 12 to 13 are offered HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination for free. The vaccine protects against cancers caused by HPV, including cervical cancer. It's usually given to girls and boys in school year 8 at schools in Wales. People who missed their vaccination when they were offered it in school still remain eligible up to the age of 25. For boys this is only if you were born on or after 1 September 2006.

Health conditions and HPV vaccination

Tell the person giving you the vaccine if you have a bleeding disorder. This doesn't necessarily mean that you cannot have the HPV vaccine.

Let the person giving you the vaccine know if you have a weakened immune system or are HIV positive. People who have a weakened immune system or are HIV positive need to have 3 doses of the HPV vaccine.

Who should not be vaccinated?

As with any medicine or vaccine, the HPV vaccine should not be used in people who have had a confirmed anaphylactic reaction (severe allergic reaction) to:

  • a previous dose of the HPV vaccine or
  • any of its ingredients

Who should delay vaccination?

The HPV vaccination should be delayed for people who are unwell and have a high temperature, or are feeling hot and shivery.

This is because symptoms of the illness may be confused with side effects from the vaccine, and this could result in the wrong diagnosis being made.

However, there is no reason to delay vaccination for a mild illness, such as the common cold.

Older girls and boys and the HPV vaccine

Anyone who missed their HPV vaccine when they were offered it in school should speak to their school nurse, school immunisation team or their GP surgery. Make an appointment to get up to date with your HPV vaccine as soon as possible.

HPV vaccination for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM)

GBMSM are at increased risk of cancers linked with HPV types 16 and 18, such as cancer of the anus, penis, mouth or throat.

GBMSM are also at increased risk of genital warts caused by HPV types 6 and 11.

From April 2017, GBMSM up to and including 45 years of age became eligible for free HPV vaccination on the NHS when they visit sexual health clinics in Wales.

GBMSM vaccinated before their 25th birthday require 1 dose of HPV vaccine.

GBMSM from the age of 25 (where vaccination is commenced on or after the individual’s 25th birthday) require 2 doses at least 6 months apart to be fully vaccinated.

GBMSM who are HIV positive or have a weakened immune system (immunosuppressed) need to have 3 doses of the HPV vaccine.

Ask the doctor or nurse at the clinic for more details.

HPV vaccination for transgender people

Trans women (people who were assigned male at birth) are eligible in the same way as GBMSM if their risk of getting HPV is comparable to the risk of GBMSM who are eligible for the HPV vaccine.

Trans men (people who were assigned female at birth) are eligible if they have sex with other men and are aged 45 or under.

No further doses of the HPV vaccine are needed if trans men have previously completed a course of HPV vaccination as part of the girls' HPV vaccine programme.


Last Updated: 13/03/2023 13:48:56
The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website