HPV is sexually transmitted disease that can cause cancer.
HPV (human papillomavirus) is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. It’s a group of 200+ related viruses that can cause several types of cancer in men and women, including most cases of cervical cancer. Over 50% of sexually active people are infected with HPV at some point in their lives.
Even though you may never develop any symptoms, you can still infect others. Today, 14 million Americans including teens are infected with HPV, which will ultimately result in ~35,000 future cancer cases.
HPV vaccines are most effective before children become sexually active.
The HPV vaccine can prevent most cases of cervical cancer, vaginal, vulvar, anal, mouth, throat, head and neck cancers, as well as genital warts in women and men. The FDA has approved HPV vaccines for males and females ages 9–45. Doctors strongly recommend getting vaccinated earlier rather than later. Teens and young adults who aren’t vaccinated should schedule their HPV vaccines as soon as possible.
- Children ages 9–14 require two doses of the HPV vaccine 6–12 months apart
- Teens ages 15 and older require three doses over 6 months
- If you’re under age 26 and missed a shot, you can still catch up!
- If you’re older than 27, consult your doctor before getting vaccinated
The HPV vaccine is not recommended for people who are moderately or severely ill, if you had a reaction to an earlier HPV or other vaccine, or if you’re allergic to yeast. The most common side effects include soreness, swelling, or redness at the injection site.
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“The HPV vaccine is important, it’s cancer prevention. Both boys and girls should get it as part of their routine 11 year old vaccinations.” —Dr. King