HP​V (Human Papillomavirus)

HPV is a very common and widespread virus, consisting of more than 150 related viruses. Nearly everyone will be infected in their lifetime. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 90% of sexually active men and 80% of sexually active women will be infected with at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives. Around one-half of these infections a​re with a high-risk HPV type.1

  • High-risk HPVs can cause cancer. About a dozen high-risk HPV types have been identified.
  • Low-risk HPVs do not cause cancer but can cause skin warts on or around the genitals, anus, mouth, or throat. 

Most high-risk HPV infections occur without any symptoms, go away within 1 to 2 years, and do not cause cancer. Some HPV infections, however, can persist for many years. Persistent infections with high-risk HPV types can lead to cell changes that, if untreated, may progress to cancer.2

HPV cancer frequency.png 
 
Getting Vaccinated
HPV print ad_boy.pngThe HPV vaccine can prevent infection with the HPV types that most commonly cause HPV related cancers. 

The CDC recommends the HPV vaccine be given to 11- to 12-year-old boys and girls so they are protected before ever being exposed to the virus. Research has shown that preteens have a better immune response to the vaccine than those in their late teens and early 20s.3 Vaccination recommendations include:
  • As of October 19, 2016, the CDC recommends that 11- to 14-year-olds receive only two doses of HPV vaccine at least six months apart rather than the previously recommended three doses
  • Teens and young adults who start the series later, at ages 15 through 26 years, will continue to need three doses of HPV vaccine to protect against cancer-causing HPV infection.4
  • Young women can get the HPV vaccine through age 26, and young men can get vaccinated through age 21.
  • The vaccine is also recommended for any man who has sex with men through age 26, and for men with compromised immune systems (including HIV) through age 26, if they did not get the HPV vaccine when they were younger.5​

Vaccine best at 11-12 years.png 

Tools and Resources

​​Información en español (Information in Spanish)

 For the General Public: 
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For Health Professionals:
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Order "Fact Sheets for Parents"

Providers may order the "Fact Sheet for Parents" (English and Spanish) from DHMH in bulk at no cost.  Fact sheets are available in packs of 25. 
To order, please completely fill out the order f​orm​​​​​​​ with the number of packs your practice requests.  The number of packs ordered will be mailed to you after DHMH receives your request.