What is the HPV Vaccine?

Vaccination is the best way to prevent cancer caused by the human papillomavirus virus (HPV). There are more than 150 types of HPV. The HPV vaccine prevents cancer-causing types of the virus.

About HPV

About 79 million Americans have some kind of HPV. That means almost 25 percent of the US population. Most people who have the virus do not know they have it.

HPV mainly affects the genitals, the mouth, and the throat. It is spread through skin-to-skin and sexual contact.

Types of HPV cause nearly all cases of cervical cancer. HPV can cause other cancers that affect both men and women: cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus, and the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils.

How to Get the Vaccine

Girls ages 9-26 and boys ages 9-21 can get the HPV vaccine. It is recommended for these age groups because immune systems respond more strongly at a young age. Talk to your child’s pediatrician about getting the vaccine.

  • The HPV vaccine is given over a 6-month period.
  • If you are under the age of 15 you will need 2 doses.
  • If you are over the age of 15, you will need 3 doses. It is important to receive all 3.