Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that causes genital warts and changes in the cervix that can result in cervical cancer. It can also lead to cancer in other areas, such as the penis, anus, and throat. Recent research suggests it may even be linked to cardiovascular disease in women.
The vaccine is given as a series of three shots over a 6-month period. It is recommended for girls and boys 11 or 12 years old, as well as for older kids who are unvaccinated.
Because HPV can cause serious problems such as genital warts and some types of cancer, a vaccine is an important step in preventing infection and protecting against the spread of HPV. It works best when given before someone becomes sexually active.
Side effects are usually mild fever and tenderness, swelling, and redness at the site of the injection. Dizziness, fainting, nausea, and vomiting also may occur after the shot. Allergic reactions to the vaccine are rare.
The vaccine is not recommended if:
Your child may experience fever, soreness, and some swelling and redness in the area where the shot was given. Pain and fever may be treated with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Check with your doctor to see if you can give either medication, and find out the appropriate dose.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: February 2015
|CDC: Vaccines & Immunizations The CDC's site has information on vaccines, including immunization schedules, recommendations, FAQs, and more.|
|Immunization Action Coalition This organization is a source of childhood, adolescent, and adult immunization information as well as hepatitis B educational materials.|
|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.|
|The History of Vaccines The History of Vaccines is an informational, educational website created by The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the oldest professional society in the United States.|
|Word! Vaccine A vaccine is another word for what most kids call a shot.|
|Do I Need a Pelvic Exam if I Had the HPV Vaccine? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Immunization Schedule Which vaccines does your child need to receive and when? Use this immunization schedule as a handy reference.|
|Can You Still Get Genital Warts If You've Had All the Shots? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Your Child's Immunizations Immunizations protect your child from potentially fatal diseases. Find out what vaccines your child needs to grow up healthy.|
|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.|
|Do I Have to Get All Three HPV Vaccine Shots? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|A Kid's Guide to Shots If you're old enough to read this, you've probably had most of your shots. But even bigger kids may need a shot once in a while. Find out more about them in this article for kids.|
|Can Getting the HPV Vaccine Help If I Already Have Genital Warts? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Does the HPV Vaccine Cause Paralysis? 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.|
|STDs In many ways teens today are growing up faster than ever. That's why it's important to talk to your child about sex, particularly sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).|
|Should Girls Who Aren't Sexually Active Be Vaccinated Against HPV? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Genital Warts Genital warts, contracted through sexual contact, are caused by certain types of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is one of the most common STDs.|
|5 Tips for Surviving Shots If you're afraid of shots, you're not alone. Next time your doc asks you to roll up your sleeve, try these tips.|
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