Can you still get genital warts if you've had all three shots?
There is a small chance that someone might still get genital warts after having all three HPV vaccine shots. The shot protects against 90% of the HPV strains that cause genital warts. But there are lots of different strains (types) of HPV and the vaccine cannot protect against them all.
The real purpose of the HPV vaccine is to protect against cervical and other types of cancers. Experts have found that certain strains of HPV may cause cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis, anus, mouth, and throat. The shots are designed to vaccinate people against the strains of HPV that are most likely to cause cancer.
So, like most things in life, the HPV vaccine doesn't come with a 100% guarantee. But it's still a good idea to get all three shots: When it comes to cancer, the more protected you are, the better.
In addition, if you're having sex, it's still important to see your gynecologist regularly and use condoms to protect against STDs (including those strains of HPV that aren't covered by the shot).
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: February 2015
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
|Planned Parenthood Info for Teens This site from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America has information on relationships and sexual health for teens.|
|American Sexual Health Association This nonprofit organization is dedicated to preventing sexually transmitted diseases and offers hotlines for prevention and control of STDs.|
|CDC: Preteen and Teen Vaccines CDC site provides materials in English and Spanish for parents, teens, preteens, and health care providers about vaccines and the diseases they prevent.|
|GYT - Get Yourself Talking and Get Yourself Tested This media campaign designed to get young people to talk with their health care providers and partners about the importance of getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases.|
|Do I Need a Pelvic Exam if I Had the HPV Vaccine? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Talking to Your Partner About STDs You know you should talk about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) before the action starts, but if you're like most people the thought of having "the talk" makes you completely nervous. Welcome to STD Chat 101.|
|I Can't Afford Treatment for Genital Warts. What Should I Do? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Do I Have to Get All Three HPV Vaccine Shots? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Can Getting the HPV Vaccine Help If I Already Have Genital Warts? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|HPV Vaccine The HPV vaccine can help protect against the virus that causes genital warts and may lead to some kinds of cancer. Find out more in this article for teens.|
|Is the HPV Vaccine Always a Shot? I'm Scared of Needles! Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Genital Warts (HPV) You've probably heard lots about sexually transmitted diseases. The good news is that STDs can be prevented. For information on how to protect yourself and how to treat genital warts, read this article.|
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