MSM aged up to, and including 45 years of age, who attend sexual health or HIV clinics are now eligible to receive the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. It's especially important for those living with HIV, and those with more than one sexual partner.

What is HPV?

  • The human papillomavirus (HPV) is very common and you can catch it through intimate sexual contact with another person who already has it. Because it is so common, most people will get infected at some point in their life.
  • People are often infected without knowing it as there are usually no symptoms and infections tend to go away on their own.
  • HPV infections that persist, however, can lead to cancers – anal, mouth and penile cancers in men, and cervical cancer in women. Other types of HPV infection can cause genital warts.

Is the HPV vaccine safe? The vaccine meets the safety standards required for it to be used in the UK and other European countries. It has been given safely to tens of millions of people worldwide, and used in Scotland since 2012.

How does the vaccine work?

  • The vaccine will help prevent HPV infection. It’s especially important for those who are living with HIV, and those who have more than one sexual partner.
  • The vaccine is a course of three injections over 4 to 12 months if you are 15 to 45 years old. If you are under the age of 15 you only need two doses (six months apart).
  • Common side effects are soreness, swelling and redness at the site of injection. If you feel unwell at any time after getting immunised, contact your GP or clinic.

How do I get the vaccine?

Contact your local sexual health and HIV clinic. Ask your sexual health doctor or nurse for more details.

Further information

Please ask your sexual health doctor or nurse about other vaccines recommended for all MSM that help protect against Hepatitis A and B infections.

Immunisation Scotland

Visit the Immunisation Scotland website for more information about the HPV vaccine.
Immunisation Scotland HPV MSM