Talking Points for Patients

Here are some talking points for patients based on common concerns—


  • HPV is a very common virus, passed from one person to another during vaginal, oral, and anal sex.
  • Most people get HPV, but it usually goes away on its own.
  • Most women with HPV do not get cancer.
  • If HPV doesn’t go away, it can cause precancers that can be treated, or cancers, if the precancers are not caught in time.
  • To lower your chances of getting HPV—
    • Use latex condoms the right way every time you have sex, but be aware that condoms may not protect fully against HPV.
    • Be in a mutually monogamous relationship (have sex only with someone who only has sex with you).

HPV Vaccine

  • The vaccine can prevent HPV infection, which is not completely prevented by condoms.
  • While the HPV vaccine offers protection against cervical cancer, about 19% of cervical cancers are not covered by the new 9-valent vaccine. Therefore, it is important to continue getting screened for cervical cancer, even if you have had the HPV vaccine.
  • The HPV vaccine is safe. It does not cause HPV.
  • Few serious side effects have been reported with the HPV vaccine. Most are minor (injection site pain, low-grade fever, nausea, dizziness, or fainting).
  • None of the HPV vaccines contain thimerosal (mercury) or any other preservative.
  • There is no evidence that the HPV vaccine encourages sexual activity.