Who should get vaccinated?
The HPV vaccine is recommended for girls and boys 11 to 12 years old, though older teens and young adults can still benefit from the vaccine. Girls can get vaccinated through age 26, and most boys can be vaccinated up to age 21. Men and women through age 26 with weak immune systems should also be vaccinated. Check with your doctor to see if the vaccination is recommended for you.
Why get vaccinated?
The HPV vaccine is a means of cancer prevention. It helps protect against several cancers, including cervical, vulvar, vaginal, anal, penile, and cancer of the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils. In addition, the HPV vaccine can help protect against genital warts. The vaccine is safe and effective. Within six years of the introduction of the HPV vaccine, the prevalence of cervical cancer decreased by 64% in females aged 14 to 19 years old, and by 34% among 20 to 24 year olds1.
My child is not sexually active. Should he or she still get vaccinated?
Yes – the HPV vaccine is most effective before the onset of sexual activity. Like all vaccines, this vaccine is intended to protect your child from diseases he or she may encounter during their lifetime.
My child is already sexually active. Should he or she still get vaccinated?
Yes, your child can still benefit from HPV vaccination. There are more than 40 types of HPV and the vaccine protects against some of the most common strains. The HPV vaccine can provide your child protection from strains of HPV that they have not encountered.
I’ve heard the HPV vaccine can encourage sexual promiscuity. Is this true?
No – studies have shown that HPV vaccination is not associated with riskier sexual activity. The vaccine was also not shown to increase sexual activity-related outcome rates.
How long will my child be protected from HPV once he or she is vaccinated?
The HPV vaccine provides long-lasting protection against HPV infection and associated disease. There is no evidence suggesting that the protection from HPV gained through vaccination decreases over time.
For more information on HPV and the HPV vaccine, visit the New York State Department of Health webpage.
1 Markowitz LE, Liu G, Hariri S, et al. Prevalence of HPV After Introduction of the Vaccination Program in the United States. Pediatrics. 2016;137(2):e20151968