Human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer

The use of a condom is essential to protect yourself and your partners against STDs. It is recommended that women aged between 25 and 64 have HPV screening; and that young girls aged from 12 to 14 years old (up to 18 years old) are vaccinated against HPV.

What is an HPV infection?

The HPV infection is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by Human Papillomavirus.

The HPV infection can be the cause of certain cancers including cervical cancer and genital warts also known as genital condyloma.

There are over 100 types of the HPV virus including:

  • the HPV that causes genital warts (types 6 and 11)
  • carcinogenic HPV types (of which there are twelve, but the most common are types 16 and 18).

Genital warts, very contagious, are the most common.

All of the vaccines against HPV infections provide protection against types 16 and 18 and some vaccines also protect against HPV types 6 and 11.

Sciensano compiles two reports each year documenting the evolution of STDs in Belgium. The reports are based on data-collection networks.

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