HPV (Human Papillomavirus)

Why vaccinate adults against human papillomavirus?

  • There are 79 million Americans infected with HPV, with more than 14 million new infections annually in the US.
  • At least half of sexually active adults will be infected with HPV in their lifetime.
  • 80% of women will be infected by age 50.
  • There are approximately 11,000 cases of cervical cancer in the US each year, most of which are due to HPV.
  • In addition to cervical cancer, HPV cause other genital cancers, and mouth and throat cancers.

Which adults need the HPV vaccine?

  • Females up to age 26 who were not fully vaccinated (three doses) as adolescents.
  • Males up to age 21 who were not fully vaccinated (three doses) as adolescents.
  • Males may be vaccinated up to age 26.
Did you know...
HPV is responsible for about 70 percent of all cases of cervical cancer?

What happens when someone gets HPV?

  • Most people with HPV will not have any long-term effects, but some will get cancer.
  • HPV causes 70 percent of all cervical cancers.
  • HPV causes cancer of the anus, penis, mouth and throat cancers.

Why is the HPV vaccine important?

  • The HPV vaccine protects against 70 percent of cervical cancers, and one of the vaccines (quadrivalent) also protects against 90 percent of genital warts.
  • The HPV vaccine prevents infection with HPV strains that cause cancer of the anus, penis, mouth and throat.
  • Once you get HPV, there is no cure. HPV will not cause serious illness for most people, but there is no way to predict which people will develop cancer because of the virus

FAQ: Since most people who get cancer are older, why can’t we wait and give the vaccine later in life?
 Most HPV infections occur in the teen years and once you have it, there is no way to cure it. The best way to avoid the infection is to get the full three-dose vaccine series before the start of any sexual activity.


On February 27, 2015, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) updated the HPV vaccine recommendation to include use of the 9-valent HPV strain vaccine. The new vaccine targets five additional strains of HPV, which adds protection against 14% of additional HPV cancers in women and 5% of additional HPV cancers in men. Due to the recent recommendations change, note that the resources below may not reflect the most current recommendations.


5 Key Steps to Improve HPV Vaccination Rates

National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID): Infographic highlighting steps to make HPV vaccination routine

Facts About Human Papillomavirus (HPV) for Adults


HPV Resource Center

National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID): Comprehensive resource center with information for patients and healthcare professionals

HPV Radio Public Service Announcement (2012) - 30 Seconds

National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID): PSA highlighting HPV as a cause of throat cancer in males; includes a strong recommendation for vaccination to prevent HPV infection

HPV Vaccination


HPV Vaccines: What Providers Need to Know

California STD/HIV Prevention Training Center: Video on HPV and vaccination featuring Dr. Ina Park

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)