Stop, Look, Read! HPV Vaccination For You And Your Family

The HPV virus can cause cancers and genital warts. These things can be scary, so why not get vaccinated before HPV can get you! Have a read through, all the facts are right here.

Facts About HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)

  • HPV is a common virus that can cause cancers and genital warts in people of all genders
  • Without vaccination, 80% of adults will have an HPV infection at some point in their life
  • In most people the virus is harmless and causes no symptoms so you may be unaware that you have it
  • It is shared mainly through sexual skin-to-skin contact
  • Vaccination against HPV infection has been available for many years, and protects against HPV cancers

Why Get Vaccinated?

The HPV Vaccine prevents human papillomavirus (HPV) types that cause several cancers, including: 

  • cervical cancer 
  • vaginal and vulval cancers 
  • anal cancer 
  • throat cancer 
  • penile cancer 

The HPV Vaccine also prevents HPV types that cause genital warts and will prevent most cases of genital warts.

Vaccination is not a substitute for cervical screening. This vaccine protects against most but not all HPV types that cause cervical cancer.  People with a cervix should still get regular cervical screening tests.

When Should HPV Vaccination Occur?

Vaccination is most effective when given prior to HPV infection, i.e. before becoming sexually active. For people who are already sexually active, the vaccine may still be of benefit as it will prevent the acquisition of new HPV infections for the strains the vaccine covers.

How Effective Is The HPV Vaccine?

Almost all HPV infections that cause abnormal cells and cancer can be prevented by the HPV vaccine. It is highly effective.

How Safe Is The HPV Vaccine?

The vaccine is very safe and no different from other common vaccines. The most common side effect is soreness at the injection site. Millions of doses have now been given all over the world. As for all medicines and vaccines ongoing surveillance continues to monitor safety. 

How Long Does The HPV Vaccine Last For?

Completing the primary vaccination course (2 or 3 doses depending on age) is expected to offer lifelong protection.

How Do You Get HPV Vaccinated And What Will It Cost?

The HPV vaccine (Gardasil 9)  is licenced for use in NZ for females aged 9-45 years  and males aged 9 -26 years. It is given in 2 or 3 doses depending on age.

  • 2 doses:  9 – 14 years (given over 6 – 12 months)
  • 3 doses: 15+ years (given over 6 months)

The HPV vaccine is free for the following groups:

  • People of all genders aged  9 to 26 years can receive HPV Immunisation FREE as part of the Ministry of Health’s HPV Immunisation Programme   
  • In 2017, Gardasil 9  will be offered to year 8 students (12 year olds), all genders, in participating schools through a funded school-based vaccination programme
  • For people aged 9-26 years who do not get vaccinated at school, Gardasil will be available free of charge through their GP or Health Care Provider

The HPV vaccine can also be purchased:

  • People outside the funded groups can pay for the vaccine
  • The cost of the full 3 doses will vary but is approximately $500.00
  • Your family Doctor or Primary Health Care Nurse will be able to give you more information on the cost of the vaccine.

Why Are Males Now Included In The HPV Vaccination Programme?

Research shows that HPV infection is shared during sexual activity and males are at risk of HPV anal, penile and throat cancers, as well as genital warts.

Do You Need To Find Out If You Are Already HPV Infected Before Having The HPV Vaccine?

No.  HPV testing is not required before vaccination.

What If You Choose Not To Vaccinate against HPV?

  • As HPV is common and unavoidably shared once you start having sex, if you are not vaccinated you are at risk of infection
  • There is no effective screening or testing for anal, vulval, penile or throat HPV related infections or cancers, therefore vaccination, ideally before ever having sex, is highly recommended and is the most effective way of preventing HPV.
  • For people with a cervix, regular cervical screening will ensure early detection and treatment of HPV related abnormal cells and prevention of most cervical cancer. However, there are no screening programmes for other HPV cancers.

HPV Vaccination And Safer Sex Practices

In addition to HPV vaccination, it is also recommended that people continue to protect their sexual health by:

  • Limiting their number of sexual partners.
  • Using a condom every time for any casual sexual encounter and with a new partner.
  • Getting a sexual health check done before having sex with a new partner and after any unprotected sex. It’s simple and well worth your time.  

HPV vaccination (and regular cervical screening in people with a cervix) offers the best protection against HPV Cancers

For the full answers and supporting references addressing the above myths, go to:

or phone tollfree: 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863)


Where can I get further information?

  • New Zealand HPV Project Helpline Tollfree 0508 11 12 13 or
  • Your GP, Family Planning Clinic or Sexual Health Clinic
  • Your Colposcopy Clinic
  • National Cervical Screening Programme Freephone 0800 729 720


This material is endorsed by


The New Zealand HPV Project

Sexually Transmitted Infections Education Foundation Ltd

PO Box 2437, Shortland Street, Auckland 1140, New Zealand


Helpline Tollfree 0508 11 12 13

Phone: (09) 433 6526

Funded by New Zealand District Health Boards

© 2017 The New Zealand HPV Project