Health care professional rubs alcohol on cheerful tween girl's arm. The girl is preparing to receive back to school vaccines. Her father is smiling and standing next to her.


Human papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV can cause at least six types of cancer, including more than 90% of cervical and anal cancers.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) consists of many viral types, and many of them are spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex. Certain types of HPV can cause these cancers: Cervical, vulvar, vaginal, penile, and anal cancers, as well as oropharyngeal cancer (cancer of the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils).

Studies show that HPV is responsible for more than 90% of anal and cervical cancers and the majority of vaginal, vulvar, penile and oropharyngeal cancers.

The good news is that you can get vaccinated to protect yourself from HPV and ultimately, prevent cancer.


Get vaccinated

Get your children vaccinated against the virus according to guidelines* to protect them from cancer down the road.

*Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Ages 9–12: HPV vaccination

Young people ages 9–12 should get vaccinated against HPV. This applies to all young people regardless of whether or not they have a cervix. While HPV is best known for causing cervical cancer, it can cause at least five other types of cancer. The vaccine is most effective when given to young people before they are exposed to HPV.

Up to age 26: Catch-up HPV vaccination

Teens and young adults who were not fully vaccinated when younger should “catch up” and get vaccinated against HPV.

Ages 27–45: Talk to your doctor about HPV vaccination

After age 26, talk with your health care provider to see if the HPV vaccine is right for you. (The HPV vaccine is approved by the FDA for use up to age 45.)

Why get vaccinated against HPV?

If the HPV vaccine is given as recommended, it can prevent more than 90% of HPV-related cancers, including more than 90% of cervical cancers and more than 90% of anal cancers.

What to expect when getting vaccinated against HPV?

The vaccine is given in two or three shots depending on the age of initial vaccination.

Know your risk for HPV

You are at increased risk for HPV infection if you:

  • Have had multiple sexual partners.
  • Were assigned female at birth and have had sex without a condom with people who are uncircumcised.
  • Were assigned male at birth and are uncircumcised.
  • Were assigned male at birth and have sex with others assigned male at birth.


Reduce your risk for HPV and related cancers

Icon illustration of a need and syringe.

Get vaccinated against HPV.

All young people ages 9-12 should get vaccinated against HPV. Vaccination is also recommended for teens and young adults up to age 26 if not fully vaccinated when younger.

Icon illustration of a magnifying glass.

Get screened for cervical cancer.

If you have a cervix, get screened for cervical cancer based on guidelines and your personal risk factors. You should be screened with a Pap test and/or HPV test even if you have been vaccinated against HPV.

Icon illustration of a condom package.

Practice safer sex.

Use a new condom the right way every time you have sex to protect yourself. This does not provide 100% protection.

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