Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

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Prevent HPV = Prevent Cancer

HPV Vaccines: Vaccinating Your Preteen or Teen

Why does my child need HPV vaccine?

HPV vaccine is important because it protects against cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. HPV is a very common virus; nearly 80 million people—about one in four—are currently infected in the United States. About 14 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year.

Most people with HPV never develop symptoms or health problems. Most HPV infections (9 out of 10) go away by themselves within two years. But, sometimes, HPV infections will last longer, and can cause certain cancers and other diseases. HPV infection can cause:

  • cancers of the cervix, vagina, and vulva in women;
  • cancers of the penis in men; and
  • cancers of the anus and back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils (oropharynx), in both women and men.

Every year in the United States, HPV causes 33,700 cancers in men and women. HPV vaccination can prevent most of the cancers (about 31,200) from ever developing.

Families are encouraged to begin the HPV two-shot series for children at age 9.

Three vaccines are recommended for preteens to protect against the infections that can cause meningitis, HPV cancers, and whooping cough.

You would do anything to protect your child from cancer. But have you done everything?

When should my child be vaccinated?

Families are encouraged to begin the HPV two-shot series for children at age 9. Originally scheduled for 11- and 12-year-olds, physicians are recommending the series begin at age 9. The two shots of HPV vaccine are given six to twelve months apart. 

If your teen hasn’t gotten the vaccine yet, talk to their doctor or nurse about getting it for them as soon as possible. If your child is older than 14 years, three shots will need to be given over 6 months. Also, three doses are still recommended for people with certain immunocompromising conditions aged 9 through 26 years.

HPV vaccine is cancer prevention

Who else should get the HPV vaccine?

Teen boys and girls who did not start or finish the HPV vaccine series when they were younger should get it now.

If your teen hasn’t gotten the HPV vaccine yet, talk to their doctor about getting it as soon as possible.

HPV vaccine is recommended for young men and women through age 26. 

Read more: HPV Vaccine – Questions & AnswersWhat parents should know about HPV vaccineHPV vaccine recommendations