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sexually transmitted diseases control branch

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV infections are so common that nearly all men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives.  HPV is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact.  It can be spread during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Most people who become infected with HPV will not have any symptoms and will clear the infection on their own. Some of these HPVs are called "high-risk" types and can cause abnormal Pap tests, cervical cancer, and other cancers in both men and women. Others are called "low-risk" types, and can cause mild Pap test abnormalities or genital warts, growths or bumps that may appear shaped like cauliflower.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the HPV vaccine for both boys and girls by age 11 or 12. Catch-up vaccination is available until age 26. The current HPV vaccine available in the U.S. offers protection against most HPV cancers, including cervical cancers as well as cancers of the vagina, vulva, anus and penis. While studies have not been done for non-reproductive system HPV-related cancers, the vaccine protects against the type of HPV that can cause oropharyngeal cancers. The HPV vaccine may also prevent oropharyngeal cancers.

Looking for clinical guidelines, job aids, or other information?


HPV Facts (CDC)

HPV and Cancer: Questions and Answers

Genital Warts (Warts Information Center)

Infección genital por VPH: Hoja informativa

HPV Vaccine Information

HPV Vaccine Information Statement (PDF)

HPV Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know

HPV Vaccine for Preteens and Teens - English (PDF)

Vacunas contra el VPH para adolescentes y preadolescentes - Español (PDF)

HPV and Oral Cancer

Data and Surveillance

HPV-related Cancer Statistics (CDC)

National STD Data

National NIH Cancer Data

HPV-Associated Cancers and HPV Vaccination Coverage in California (CDPH) (PDF)

HPV/Cervical Pre-Cancer Surveillance Impact (HPV Impact)

California Cancer Facts and Figures 2017 (ACS)(PDF)


HPV Vaccine Finder Widget (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

California Cervical Cancer-Free Campaign (California Medical Association Foundation)

CDC Division of STD Prevention

American Sexual Health Association (Real-life stores and PSAs)

Handouts for Parents

Vacunas Y Mi Salud

HPV Vaccine Fotonovela "An Ounce of Prevention" (English and Español) (PDF)

Send an Email or Text to Let Your Partners Know They Should Get Tested (

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