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If you have questions or need to talk, call our helpline for information or support.
Have a question? Receive a confidential response from a medical professional.
Come to a support event to meet other people who have had a cervical cancer diagnosis.
HPV (human papillomavirus) and cervical screening can be complicated, but we're here to help you get smear test smart.
(Not in Scotland? Find out about screening in your country >)
Get started below!
Nope! Try again.
Nope! Try again.
That's most people! HPV is really common because it can be transmitted easily, through any kind of sexual contact. This includes vaginal, anal and oral sex. Although it is rarer, HPV can also be passed on through touching in the genital area and sharing sex toys.This means if you've ever had any kind of sexual contact you may have HPV.
Want to find out more? Get the facts on HPV >
It isn't. There is no treatment for HPV itself. This might sound scary, but the body usually clears the virus, often without you ever knowing you had it! There are treatments for conditions caused by HPV, including genital warts, cervical cell changes and cancer.
Want to know more? Read our FAQs >
Nope, HPV doesn't have any symptoms. You may have it without ever knowing.
Did you guess correctly? HPV is none of these things!
Using condoms and dental dams to have safe sex can help reduce the risk of getting HPV. But it won’t completely get rid of the risk, as HPV lives on the skin in and around the whole genital area – not just the part that the condom or dental dam covers!
This is a common myth, but it's not true. If you have HPV, it does not mean you have or will definitely develop cancer.
Why? Find out more >
Correct – and we know this sounds a bit frightening. But remember, cervical screening is there to help prevent cervical cancer. It helps identify who might need monitoring more closely, or treatment, to stop cervical cancer from ever developing.
Nope. Cervical screening does not test for anything apart from HPV and, if you have it, your sample will be looked at to see if the virus has caused any cells in the cervix to change – nothing else. Try again!
You are invited for cervical screening from age 25 and, if your result is clear, you will be invited every 5 years. This is because it usually takes between 10 to 15 years for high-risk HPV to develop into cervical cell changes or cervical cancer. Without high-risk HPV, it is very unlikely that anything will develop within 5 years, so there is no need to be tested more often.
Nope! You do get invited for the first time at 25 though!
Nope! You do get invited from 25 though!
If you're in need of a bit of brushing up on the facts about HPV, you're not alone. Did you know that 1 in 2 people who learn they have HPV don't know what it is? We want to see that change, so that fewer people feel confused or worried when they learn that they have HPV.
Ready to get the facts? Read our FAQs on HPV >
You can also find information about cervical screening on NHS inform >
We want every woman and person with a cervix to know where they can get information and support about cervical screening, and we need your help to do so! It’s really easy to get involved and there are lots of ways you can do so, from supporting on social media to getting your workplace involved and displaying posters or organising fundraising.
If you have a question or concern about any aspect of HPV, cervical screening or cervical cancer, then we're here for you. We have a free Helpline, Ask the Expert service and a Forum.