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What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk?

Photo of a doctor giving an HPV vaccine to a girl, while her mother looks onThe HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that most often cause vaginal and vulvar cancers. It is recommended for preteens who are 11 to 12 years old.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus with more than 100 different kinds or types. More than 30 of the types can be passed from one person to another during sex. Almost all cervical cancers and some vaginal, vulvar, and other cancers are caused by HPV.

The HPV vaccine protects against the types of HPV that most often cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. It is recommended for preteens (both boys and girls) aged 11 to 12 years, but can be given as early as age 9 and until age 26. The vaccine is given in a series of either two or three shots, depending on age. It is important to note that even women who are vaccinated against HPV need to have regular Pap tests to screen for cervical cancer.

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