Preventing vaginal cancer

There is a strong link between certain types of human papilloma virus (HPV) and the development of abnormalities that may develop into vaginal cancer.

HPV vaccination

There is now a vaccine that provides protection against the two strains of HPV that are thought to be responsible for most cases of vaginal cancer. HPV vaccination also protects against cervical cancer, which is far more common than vaginal cancer.

Girls should be offered the HPV vaccine as part of their routine childhood vaccination programme. The vaccine should be given to girls who are 12 to 13 years old, with three doses given over six months.

Read more about the HPV vaccination.

Safe sex

The HPV vaccine will not provide complete protection against HPV but it will help to reduce the risk of transmission. HPV is spread through intimate contact, such as unprotected penetrative sex, so using a condom is the best way to avoid it.

Before having sex with someone new, it is a good idea for you both to be tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at a sexual health clinic. All tests are free and confidential.

Read more about STIs and sexual health clinics, and find sexual health services in your area.

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