Cervical cancer is caused by persistent infections with certain types of the Human Papilloma Virus or HPV. There are more than 100 types of HPV. About 40 of these can infect the genital area of both men and women, and are called genital HPVs. Some of these cause genital warts and others, about 15 high-risk types, can cause the cells of the cervix to become abnormal and eventually develop into cervical cancer.
A summary of HPV vaccination policies and practices across Europe is set-out in this report. As can be seen from the information presented, HPV vaccination practices constitute a spectrum of activities from free, nationally organised, school-based vaccination programmes to the provision of HPV vaccination by the private sector on a patient-pay basis. For the purposes of this report, a vaccination programme has been defined as being when a country or region has put in place an organised effort to ensure high coverage of the target population.