The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine helps protect against infection by the strains of HPV Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Infection Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes warts. Some types of HPV cause skin warts, and other types cause genital warts (growths in or around the vagina, penis, or rectum). Infection with some HPV... read more that are most likely to cause the following:
Cervical cancer Cervical Cancer Cervical cancer develops in the cervix (the lower part of the uterus). Most cervical cancers are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Cervical cancer usually results from infection... read more , vaginal cancer Vaginal Cancer Cancer of the vagina, an uncommon cancer, usually develops in the cells lining the vagina, typically in women over 60. Vaginal cancer may cause abnormal vaginal bleeding, particularly after... read more , and vulvar cancer Vulvar Cancer Vulvar cancer usually develops in the labia, the tissue that surrounds the opening of the vagina. The cancer may appear to be a lump, an itchy area, or a sore that does not heal. A sample of... read more in women
The HPV vaccine contains only certain parts of the virus. The vaccine does not contain any live virus and thus cannot cause HPV infection.
For more information, see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine information statement.
(See also Overview of Immunization Overview of Immunization Immunization (vaccination) helps the body defend itself against diseases caused by certain bacteria or viruses. Immunity (the ability of the body to defend itself against diseases caused by... read more .)
There are three vaccines for HPV:
Nine-valent: Protects against nine types of HPV
Quadrivalent: Protects against four types of HPV
Bivalent: Protects against two types of HPV
All three HPV vaccines protect against the two types of HPV (types 16 and 18) that cause about 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of anal cancers. The nine-valent and quadrivalent vaccines protect against the two types of HPV (types 6 and 11) that cause more than 90% of genital warts, in addition to protecting against types 16 and 18. Only the nine-valent vaccine and quadrivalent vaccine are recommended for boys and men.
Only the nine-valent vaccine is currently available in the United States.
Administration of HPV Vaccine
The HPV vaccine is given as an injection into a muscle in a 2-dose or a 3-dose series. If the initial dose of the HPV vaccination is given at age 9 to 14 years, a 2-dose series is given. If the initial dose of the HPV vaccination is given at age 15 years or older, a 3-dose series is given (see routine childhood vaccination Childhood Vaccination Schedule Most doctors follow the vaccination schedule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC—see the schedule for infants and children and the schedule for older children... read more ).
The vaccine is recommended for
All males and females at age 11 or 12 (but can be started at age 9) and previously unvaccinated or not adequately vaccinated people through age 26 years
All adults age 27 to 45 years after discussing with their doctor whether they should be vaccinated
People who have a condition that weakens their immune system, including HIV infection, should receive a 3-dose series regardless of their age when the initial dose is given
If people have a temporary illness, doctors usually wait to give the vaccine until the illness resolves (see also CDC: Who Should NOT Get Vaccinated With These Vaccines?).
Side Effects of HPV Vaccine
The injection site sometimes becomes sore, swollen, and red. No serious side effects have been reported.
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