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HPV

HPV: What It Means For Your Health

What is HPV?

HPV is short for human papillomavirus. There are more than 100 different forms (subtypes) of HPV. You can get HPV from vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected person. The virus is spread through bodily fluids. Some infected people don't show symptoms of the virus but they can still spread it.

Is there a vaccine?

The first HPV vaccine was introduced in 2006. The vaccine is given as a series of three shots. The two available vaccines are Ceravix and Gardasil. Both females and males can prevent getting HPV with a vaccine.

Males get the vaccine to prevent:

  1. Anal cancer
  2. Mouth and throat cancer
  3. Genital warts.

Females get the vaccine to prevent:

  1. Cervical cancer
  2. Vulvar cancer
  3. Vaginal cancer
  4. Anal cancer
  5. Genital warts.

Males and females should get the vaccine between ages 11 and 12. It is best to get vaccinated early but you can still get the vaccine in adolescence and early adulthood. Young women can get vaccinated until age 26. Young men can get the HPV vaccine until age 21. Homosexual men and men with weak immune systems can be vaccinated until age 26.

Quick facts about HPV:

HPV is responsible for 14 million out of 20 million sexually transmitted infections

For more information:

Go to the HPV health topic, where you can:

Last Reviewed: Jul 13, 2015

Li  Li, MD PhD Li Li, MD PhD
Case Western Reserve University