Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Cervical Cancer
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus transmitted through sexual contact. Almost all cervical cancers are linked to HPV. The virus is also linked to vulvar, vaginal, penile and anal cancer, and cancer of the head and neck. Most sexually active American women will be exposed to the virus by the time they turn 50.
Avoiding HPV is the best way to reduce a woman’s risk of cervical cancer. HPV vaccinations and routine Pap tests make cervical cancer one of the most preventable cancers. Practicing safe sex can also reduce a woman’s likelihood of getting cervical cancer, but HPV can infect areas that are not covered by a condom.
Speak with your health care professional about the HPV vaccine. HPV vaccinations are given as a series of three shots over six months. They come in two forms: Cervarix and Gardasil. Both forms are approved for HPV prevention in women, but only Gardasil, which protects against genital warts and cancers of the anus, vagina, and vulva, along with cervical cancer, is approved for men.
HPV vaccines are primarily for girls and boys aged 11 or 12, but they are also recommended for women through age 26 and men through age 21 who were unable to get vaccines at an earlier age. It is important to note that women who get vaccines still need to have regular Pap tests.
Show your children how important it is to be screened for cancer by getting your own regular screenings. Visit our page on cervical cancer for more information.
- Aberdeen Area Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board: DVD #18 H.P.V. is Not a Tradition: Protect the Circle, Get the H.P.V. Vaccine. Contact Tinka Duran at 1-800-745-3466 ext.144 for more information.
- American Social Health Association (ASHA): HPV and Cervical Cancer Prevention Resource Center
- Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN): Human Papillomavirus (HPV) & Cervical Cancer
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Genital Human Papillomavirus (HPV) – A Brochure for Native Women
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): HPV Vaccination
- California Family Health Council, Inc. (CFHC): Talk with Your Kids: For Parents: HPV Vaccinations
- California Family Health Council, Inc. (CFHC): Talk with Your Kids: For Professionals: Help Parents Understand the HPV Vaccine
- Children’s Hospital Boston: Center for Young Women’s Health: Human Papillomavirus (HPV)