Should Girls Who Aren't Sexually Active Be Vaccinated Against HPV?

Should Girls Who Aren't Sexually Active Be Vaccinated Against HPV?

I've heard about the HPV vaccine for teenage girls. But I'm not sure my 14-year-old daughter needs it since she's not sexually active. What should I do?
- Lora

The HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine actually has the best chance of protecting against infection if the series of three shots is given before a person becomes sexually active.

Some strains of HPV that are spread through sexual contact are known to cause cervical cancer, as well as cancers of the penis, anus, mouth, and throat. Recent research suggests that HPV might even be linked to cardiovascular disease in women.

HPV is extremely common, affecting more than half of sexually active people at some point in their lives, often in their teens and twenties.

While a girl may not be sexually active now, she likely will be at some point in her life. Girls may contract HPV in their teenage or young adult years, and then develop cancer years later.

It is now recommended that both girls and boys receive the HPV vaccine, which will help to protect both guys and girls from genital warts and HPV-related cancers.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: October 2012





Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.





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Related Resources
Web SitePlanned Parenthood Info for Teens This site from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America has information on relationships and sexual health for teens.
Web SiteAmerican Social Health Association This nonprofit organization is dedicated to preventing sexually transmitted diseases and offers hotlines for prevention and control of STDs.
Web SitePlanned Parenthood Federation of America Planned Parenthood offers information on sexually transmitted diseases, birth control methods, and other issues of sexual health.
Web SiteCDC Immunization: Pre-teens and Adolescents CDC site provides materials in English and Spanish for parents, teens, pre-teens, and health care providers about vaccines and the diseases they prevent.
Web SiteThe 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.
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