Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus that can cause certain cancers later in life. HPV infections are so common that nearly everyone will get HPV at some point in their life.
You can protect your child from these cancers with two doses of HPV vaccine starting at age 9. It is best to get protection earlier in life, between ages 9-12, before they are even at risk for HPV.
HPV infects about 13 million people, including teens, each year. More than 42 million Americans are currently infected with HPV types that cause disease.
HPV is a viral infection that can cause skin or mucous membrane growths (warts). However, most people infected with HPV do not have symptoms which can make the disease hard to identify and treat. Even if you don’t have symptoms, you can still spread HPV. Some HPV infections will go away on their own, but infections that don’t go away can progress to cancer in both women and men later in life.
HPV infections can cause cancers of the:
• Cervix, vagina, and vulva in women
• Penis in men
• Anus in both women and men
• Back of the throat (called oropharyngeal cancer), including the base of the tongue and tonsils, in both men and women
The HPV vaccine prevents more than 90% of these cancers from ever developing if given before a person is exposed to HPV. The HPV vaccine (Gardasil-9) protects against the types of HPV that most often cause cancer, and warts. That’s why you should talk to your child’s health care provider and start the shot series today.
HPV vaccine is cancer prevention!
Last Reviewed: February 8, 2024