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Fewer HPV Infections Mean Healthier Communities of Color

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Human papillomavirus (or HPV) can cause several types of cancer, and some communities of color have higher rates of these cancers. HPV vaccine can protect against cancers caused by HPV infection, protecting communities of color from these often devastating cancers.

About HPV

HPV is a very common and widespread virus. Nearly everyone will be infected in their lifetime. In most cases, HPV infections go away on their own and do not cause any health problems. But when HPV infections do not go away, they can cause cancer.

HPV can cause cervical cancer, as well as some cancers of the vulva, vagina, penis, and anus. HPV can also cause cancer in the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils (oropharynx) in men and women. Cancer can take years, even decades, to develop after a person gets an HPV infection. While doctors routinely screen for cervical cancer, there are no recommended screening tests for other HPV cancers. These cancers may not be found until they cause health problems. To learn more about HPV and the types of cancers it causes, visit the Link Between HPV and Cancer.

Don’t miss an opportunity to protect your child from cancer. HPV vaccine is recommended for all girls and boys at ages 11-12 to protect against infections that can lead to cancer.

How HPV Cancers Affect Communities of Color

Every year in the United States, about 19,700 women and 12,800 men are diagnosed with an HPV cancer.1

  • Among men, blacks have higher rates of anal cancer than other races and ethnicities.2
  • Hispanic men have higher rates  of getting penile cancer than non-Hispanic men.2
  • Although Hispanic women have the highest rates of getting cervical cancer, black women have the highest rates of dying from cervical cancer.3
  • Black women also have higher rates of getting vaginal cancer than women of other races and ethnicities.2
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Don’t miss an opportunity to protect your child from cancer. HPV vaccine is recommended for girls and boys at ages 11-12 to protect against cancers and other diseases caused by HPV.

You Can Prevent Cancers Caused by HPV

It’s true! You can prevent cancers caused by HPV. HPV vaccination can prevent more than 90% of cancers caused by HPV from ever developing. CDC recommends HPV vaccine for boys and girls at ages 11 to 12 to provide protection long before they are exposed to the virus. Boys and girls who start the series before their 15th birthday need two doses. Teens and young adults who start the series on or after their 15th birthday need three doses.

If your teen did not start or finish the HPV vaccine series when they were younger, talk to their doctor or nurse about getting it for them as soon as possible. Girls and women are recommended to get HPV vaccine through age 26, and boys and men through age 21.

For more information about who should get the HPV vaccine, visit HPV Vaccines: Vaccinating Your Preteen or Teen.

While many HPV infections can be prevented through vaccination, getting screened for cervical cancer regularly is also critical in finding it early. To learn more, visit What Should I Know About Screening?

Protect Yourself, Your Children, Your Community

Educate yourself, your family, and your community on how HPV cancers affect your community and how to protect against these cancers. Ask your child’s doctor about HPV vaccine and get screened for cervical cancer. Visit CDC’s HPV website to learn more.


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cancers associated with human papillomavirus, United States—2010–2014. USCS data brief, no. 1. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2017. (
  2. Viens, L.J. Henley S.J, Watson M, et al, Human papillomavirus–associated cancers—United States, 2008–2012. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report, 65.
  3. U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group. United States Cancer Statistics: 1999–2014 Incidence and Mortality Web-based Report. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Cancer Institute; 2017.
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