4 March 2024

Today is International HPV (human papillomavirus) Awareness Day, the Oracle Cancer Trust is asking parents to sign the Year 8 HPV Vaccine consent forms. The Oral Health Foundation is supporting the campaign to share awareness of HPV and its impact.

The HPV vaccine is offered to all Year 8 (12- to 13-year-olds) across UK schools with parental consent. A free catch-up programme is available in the UK for girls up to 25 years old and for any boys born after September 1, 2006.

Originally the vaccine was only provided for girls in the UK. After the campaign ‘Jabs for the Boys’ by the Oral Health Foundation and mounting pressure from other health charities, the government made the vaccine gender-neutral potentially saving thousands of lives.

Dr Nigel Carter, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation said: “For many people, HPV is symptomless and causes no harm.

“Around 90% of HPV infections usually go away within two years. For some people though this can lead to changes to the mouth and lead to mouth cancer in the future.

“Getting the vaccine young before becoming sexual activity is important. This will give you the best defence against HPV as well as practising safe sex and reducing the number of sexual partners, may help reduce your chances of contracting HPV.”

There are many different strains of HPV, one of the most common signs is cold sores. However, more often HPV shows no symptoms at all.

The current vaccine protects against the HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18. Types 16 and 18 are the primary cause of cervical cancer in women.

They are also associated with cancers of the vulva, throat, penis, and anus. Up to three-quarters of oropharyngeal cancer cases are caused by HPV.

80% of people will develop a high-risk HPV infection at some point in their lives. That can lead to head and neck, cervical, genital, and anal cancer as well as genital warts.1

HPV cancers have doubled over the twenty years and are some of the fastest-growing cancers in the UK.

“Over the coming years, the lives of thousands will be saved by this vaccination.  Whether you are the parent of a girl or boy, please make sure that you sign the consent form to ensure your child receives the HPV vaccination without delay,” adds Dr Carter.

“If you have any concerns or would simply like to learn more from a professional about the impact HPV can have, make an appointment with your dentist or GP.”

You can find out more information by visiting Sign Away Cancer - Oracle Cancer Trust or learn more about HPV.


  1. Let’s talk about HPV: 6 common questions answered - Cancer Research UK - Cancer News