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Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the name of a group of viruses that includes over 150 different types. HPV is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. HPV can be spread during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women get it a some point in their lives.

HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms. Symptoms can appear years after getting infected, making it difficult to know when someone first became infected. WHile most people hwo become infected with HPV will not have any symptoms during their infection, some HPV types can lead to cancers, including cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine, licensed for both males and females ages 9-26 years, protects against:

cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in females
penile cancers in males, and
anal and throat cancers and genital warts in females and males.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that girls and boys start getting the HPV vaccine by age 11 or 12, but teens who haven't yet been vaccinated need it, too. Preteens ages 9-14 usually need two shots. Teens age 15 and older need three shots.

View personal stories of someone affected by HPV at ShotbyShot.org.

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Last modified on: 1/20/2017 4:27 PM