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HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention for Boys, Too!

Portrait of young boy playing in autumn woods

Every year in the United States, over 13,000 men get cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV vaccination could prevent most of these cancers from ever developing.  

HPV is a common virus that infects both men and women. HPV is so common that 8 out of 10 people will get an HPV infection at some point in their lifetime. In most cases, HPV goes away on its own. But, sometimes, HPV infections don’t go away, and can cause certain cancers and other diseases.

HPV infections can cause cancers of the back of the throat (oropharyngeal cancer), anus, and penis in men. Cancers of the back of the throat have surpassed cervical cancer as the most common type of cancer caused by HPV. Unlike cervical cancer in women, there are no recommended screening tests for the other types of cancers that HPV causes, so they may not be found until they cause health problems.

Infographic: Your child can get protection from HPV cancers during the same visit they are protected against other serious diseases.

HPV vaccine is recommended for preteen boys 11 or 12 years old.

Boys, like girls, should get the two doses of the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12 to protect against cancer-causing HPV infections long before they are ever exposed.  The HPV vaccine series can be started as early as age 9, and should be finished before boys turn 13 years old.

If you haven’t already vaccinated your preteen or teen boys, it’s not too late. If your teen is 15 or older, and hasn’t started the HPV vaccine series, he will need 3 shots given over 6 months.

Take advantage of any medical visit – such as an annual health checkup or physicals for sports, camp or college – to ask the doctor about what shots your preteens and teens need.

Should teen boys and young men be vaccinated?

Teen boys who did not start or finish the HPV vaccine series when they were younger should get it now. HPV vaccine is recommended for young men through age 21. HPV vaccine is also recommended for the following people, if they did not get vaccinated when they were younger:

  • young men who have sex with men, including young men who identify as gay or bisexual or who intend to have sex with men through age 26
  • young adults who are transgender through age 26
  • young adults with certain immunocompromising conditions (including HIV) through age 26.

HPV Vaccination is Safe

Doctor talking with mother and teenage son

HPV vaccination provides safe, effective, and long-lasting protection against HPV cancers.

HPV Vaccine Safety

Paying For Vaccines

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If you need help paying for your child’s vaccines, learn more

Vaccines for Children (VFC)

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