If you left school, like me, sometime between 2007-2010 you may be a little behind when it comes to knowing the details on HPV. Since September 2008, the NHS has had a national programme to vaccinate all year 8 girls against the human papilloma virus (HPV) and instituted a catch up programme for those who were under 18 without the vaccination. As such the younger generation is a little more savvy about HPV.
For us older ones in the crowd lets cover a few general facts. You may be surprised to learn HPV is the most common STD and 50% of sexually active men and women will contract a genital form of HPV at some point in their life although many never show any symptoms or even know that they have it. The more high risk types of HPV are responsible for 99% of cervical cancers (the second most common cancer in women under 35) and other types of HPV are the culprits when it comes to genital warts (remember those gross photos they show you at school in attempts to scare you into never having sex). So let's agree it's good to understand what it is, how you can catch it and ways to prevent it.