Human papillomavirus unit (HPU): reference services

HPU undertakes surveillance and translational research of genital human papillomavirus (HPV).

HPU is part of the Public Health England (PHE) virus reference department (VRD). The unit works primarily on human papillomaviruses (HPV) and hosts a modern imaging facility to provide electron and confocal microscopy.

Services available


HPU contributes to national sexually transmitted infection surveillance programmes designed to monitor the impact of the HPV vaccines on the UK population. The unit also undertake studies to understand the immune responses generated following HPV vaccination and those generated during natural infection.

The unit does not offer a diagnostic service for HPV infection.

Electron and confocal microscopy

HPU has a modern ultrastructural imaging facility with a 120kV high-contrast, transmission electron microscope (EM) and a state-of-the-art laser scanning confocal microscope. The facility provides a diagnostic service to the NHS for orf and molluscum contagiosum viruses using negative stain EM and also supports the research and development activities of Public Health England scientists.

HPU guidance and forms

Contact HPU

Human papillomavirus unit (HPU)

UK Health Security Agency
61 Colindale Avenue

Telephone 020 8327 7262

Fax 020 8200 1569

Published 8 August 2014
Last updated 27 January 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated page with new service details.

  2. First published.