Sexual Health


Age at interview: 15

Brief outline: Paula took part in the HPV vaccination programme in school year 8 for girls aged 12 to 13. A nurse during school assembly provided information about HPV and the vaccination programme but Paula thinks that more information is needed to build upon what has been learned in assembly about HPV, cervical cancer and sexual health in general.

Background: Paula is a full-time student and is preparing to take her Final GCSE exams. She lives at home with her parents and younger sister. Ethnic background: Argentinian.

Audio & video

Paula took part in the HPV vaccination programme for girls aged 12 to 13 years in school year 8. Invitation to take part and information about the HPV vaccine was provided by a nurse during school assembly. Paula understood the information given - that the HPV vaccine reduces the risks of getting her cervical cancer when she’s older but it doesn’t prevent sexually transmitted diseases.
At assembly, Paula was given an information leaflet and a consent form to take to her parents. Her mother searched for more information about the HPV vaccine and the vaccination programme online. Then her mother talked to Paula and both decided it was a good idea for her to be protected against cervical cancer. Paula’s only worry was whether the jab was going to hurt. Over a period of six months, Paula received three injections every two months and had a mild, short-term reaction to the vaccine in the form of her arm feeling tender.
Paula says that, at the age of twelve, she understood what the National HPV Vaccination Programme was about but that there is a need to provide girls her age with a follow-up information session. This session should aim to give girls more information about HPV, cervical cancer and sexual health in general. She also thinks that it would be a good idea to clearly explain to 12 years old girls what the HPV vaccine does and doesn’t do – for example it doesn’t protect against unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.


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