HPV (Human Papillomavirus)


  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States. HPV can lead to cervical cancer in women, as well as other oral, anal, and genital (sex organ) cancers in men and women. HPV also causes genital warts.
  • HPV is usually spread during close skin-to-skin contact, such as during sex. You can spread (or get) the virus without knowing it. Sometimes babies become infected from their mothers during birth.
  • HPV causes about 21,500 cases of cancer in women and about 15,500 cases of cancer in men every year in the United States.
  • If you ever have sex, you are at risk. At least half of sexually active people get infected with HPV at some point in their lives.
  • Vaccination is the best way to prevent HPV infection. However, HPV vaccination does not cure current HPV infections and it does not treat or cure existing pre-cancers or cancers caused by HPV.

HPV Vaccine Schedule

HPV Vaccine Schedule

The vaccine is most effective if you get it before becoming sexually active. However, if you are already sexually active and age 26 or younger, you should still get vaccinated. Both girls and boys should complete the 2-dose HPV vaccine series before turning 13. Your child’s doctor may prefer to start at 9 years, while others start the series at 11–12 years. If the first dose is not given before age 15, 3 doses are needed. The vaccine may be helpful for some adults 27 through 45 years of age, and anyone in this age group should talk with their doctor about whether the vaccine would be helpful for them. The HPV vaccine series is given over 6 months.


HPV Vaccine: A Guide for Adults Ages 18–26 Years

FAQ and when to get the HPV vaccine, from Immunize.org.

HPV: A Parent’s Guide to Preteen and Teen HPV Vaccination

Why vaccinate preteens and teens against HPV? Plus more Q&As about HPV for parents, from Immunize.org.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV): Questions and Answers

Information about HPV disease and vaccine, from Immunize.org.

Partner Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Find fact sheets, resources, multimedia, and more for parents and children from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
HPV Vaccination Is the Best Protection Against Certain Cancers Caused by HPV

Learn about the types of cancers HPV vaccination can prevent.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Vaccines for Your Children: Vaccine (Shot) for Human Papillomavirus

HPV vaccination is recommended at ages 11-12 years to protect against cancers caused by HPV infection. Learn more about HPV and vaccines from the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. A Spanish-language version is also available.

NIH National Cancer Institute
HPV and Cancer

Facts and other resources about human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines for the prevention of infection with certain types of HPV, the major cause of cervical cancer. Also available in a Spanish-language version.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
A Look at Each Vaccine: Human Papillomavirus

Facts, information, resources, and videos about HPV vaccination from the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Human Papillomavirus: What You Should Know

An HPV fact sheet and Q&A from the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. A Spanish-language version is also available.

American Sexual Health Association
HPV Vaccination

Though usually harmless, some types of HPV cause cervical lesions that, over a period of time, can develop into cancer if untreated. Learn more from the American Sexual Health Association.

National Cervical Cancer Coalition
National Cervical Cancer Coalition

Resources for women with cervical cancer, including a section devoted to survivor stories, from the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, a program of the American Sexual Health Association.


Christine Baze

Christine Baze, a Boston musician and cervical cancer survivor, shares her personal story to educate women about human papillomavirus (HPV) and the importance of vaccination.

Read more.

National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC)

HPV vaccine has potential to reduce worldwide cancer deaths by more than 200,000.

Read more.
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Where To Get Vaccinated

State and local information for vaccination resources near you.

State Immunization Programs Where to Get Vaccinated Local

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