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What is the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine?

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine—the first vaccine designed to prevent a type of cancer—has been increasingly embraced by parents and the medical community since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it in 2006.

The most widely used HPV vaccine, Gardasil, protects against the two strains that cause the majority of cervical cancers, as well as the two HPV subtypes responsible for roughly 90 percent of genital warts cases. In addition to being offered to preteen girls, it is recommended for older girls and young women up to the age of 26 who have not yet received it.

The HPV vaccine is a vaccine that protects against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause multiple types of cancer. The HPV virus is actually very common—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that pretty much everyone who has sex will be exposed to it at some point in their life. While it’s best known to cause cervical and oropharyngeal cancers, HPV has also been linked to penis cancers and vaginal cancers. Obviously, to have a vaccine that protects against so many types of cancer is huge. The vaccine is most effective when it’s given at a younger age between age 11 or 13, and ideally long before the child is sexually active.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.