What You Need to Know About the HPV Vaccine

The Virus

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a group of 150+ related viruses. HPV causes more than 30,000 cases of cancer each year.

The Vaccine

If HPV vaccination is initiated prior to turning 15, only doses of the vaccine are needed. However if the vaccine series is started at age 15 or older, three doses of the HPV vaccine are needed.

The Age Range

The HPV vaccine is for boys and girls ages 11 to 12. Catch-up vaccination is also recommended up to age 26 for females and up to age 21 for males if the vaccine was missed at the recommended time.

The Importance

The vaccine protects against HPV types that cause most cervical anal cancers and some cancers of the oropharynx, vulva, vagina, and penis.

State Vaccination Rates

Vaccination rates in South Carolina continue to fall below national averages. In South Carolina, HPV vaccination rates for girls are 19% lower than national rates and 11% lower for boys.