Hollings Cancer Center

A National Cancer Institute Designated Cancer Center

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

The FDA-approved vaccine is extremely safe and effective. If HPV vaccination is initiated before a child turns 15, only two doses of the vaccine are needed. However, if the vaccine series is started at age 15 or older, three doses of the vaccine are needed.

The Age Range

The HPV vaccine is optimal for boys and girls ages 11 to 12, but can be given as early as age 9. Catch-up vaccination is also recommended for everyone through age 26 if the vaccine was missed at the recommended time.

The Importance

The vaccine is long lasting and protects against HPV types that cause most cervical cancers and some cancers of the anus, vulva, vagina, penis and throat.