HPV vaccines are given as a series of three shots over 6 months to protect against HPV infection and the health problems that HPV infection can cause. There are two HPV vaccines (Cervarix and Gardasil). Girls and young women should get either HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.
One of the HPV vaccines (Gardasil) also protects against genital warts and anal cancer in both females and males. Boys should get this HPV vaccine to prevent anal cancer and genital warts. Girls can get this vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, vulvar cancer, vaginal cancer, anal cancer and genital warts.
HPV vaccines offer the best protection to girls and boys who receive all three vaccine doses and have time to develop an immune response before being sexually active with another person. That's why HPV vaccination is recommended for preteen girls and boys at age 11 or 12 years.
Who else should get the HPV vaccine?
All kids who are 11 or 12 years old should get the three dose series of HPV vaccine to protect against HPV. Teen boys and girls who did not get the vaccine or did not get all three doses when they were younger should get it now. Young women can get HPV vaccine through age 26, and young men can get vaccinated through age 21. The vaccine is also recommended for any man who has sex with men and also for men with compromised immune systems (including HIV) through age 26, if they did not get HPV vaccine when they were younger.
Read more: HPV Vaccine - Questions & Answers
- Vaccines for Preteens and Teens
- HPV Vaccine Information Sheet (Gardasil and Cervarix)
- Preteens Need Vaccines Too! - CDC Features Article
- HPV Vaccine Information For Young Women - Fact Sheet
- MMWR - Recommendations on the Use of Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus Vaccine in Males — Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2011
- MMWR - FDA Licensure of Bivalent Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV2, Cervarix) for Use in Females and Updated HPV Vaccination Recommendations from ACIP
- Page last reviewed: January 22, 2015
- Page last updated: January 22, 2015
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