HPV Vaccine Recommendations for Girls, Boys, Women, and Men

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What is HPV?

The human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are a group of over 100 types viruses that infect humans. Over 40 HPV types infect the genital tract and anus of men and women. They may sometimes cause genital warts, but a subgroup of the HPVs that infect the genital tract can lead to precancerous changes in the uterine cervix and cervical cancer. HPV infection is also associated with the development of other cancers like anal and penile cancer in men as well as a subgroup of head and neck cancers in both women and men.

What is the HPV vaccine?

A vaccine designed to prevent cervical cancer and other diseases caused by infection with HPVs was approved for use in the U.S. in June 2006. This was the first vaccine to be developed against a known risk factor for the development of a cancer. An additional vaccine has since been approved, and the original vaccine has also been modified to target more HPV types (see below).

What HPV vaccines are available?

There are three HPV vaccine products available in the US.


Gardasil, developed by Merck & Co., has been shown to be safe and 100% effective in preventing infection by four common HPV types (6, 11, 16, 18) in young people who have not been previously infected with HPV. Its effectiveness is lessened for those who have already been exposed to the viruses.

Gardasil 9

Gardasil 9 is a newer version of the Gardasil vaccine, and was approved in December 2014. It confers immunity to 9 HPV types (6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58).


Cervarix is another HPV vaccine. It prevents infection from HPV types 16 and 18 that are the two HPV types most commonly associated with cervical cancer. Cervarix is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline and is the second HPV vaccine to be developed.

Both types of the Gardasil and the Cervarix vaccine are effective against diseases caused by HPV-16 and HPV-18 and can prevent cervical pre-cancers in women as well as cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, anus, and oropharynx. Only Gardasil has been tested and shown to prevent pre-cancers of the vulva, vagina, and anus. Only Gardasil protects against HPV-6 and HPV-11, the virus types that commonly cause genital warts.

HPV Vaccine Recommendations for Girls, Boys, Women, and Men Resources

Read patient comments on Cervical Cancer - Risk Factors

Doctor written main article on Cervical Cancer

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/23/2015

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