Patient Education

HPV Frequently Asked Questions


What is HPV?
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a common virus. In 2005, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that 20 million people in the U.S. had this virus. There are many different types of HPV; some cause no harm. Others can cause diseases of the genital area. For most people, the virus goes away on its own. When the virus does not go away, it can develop into cervical cancer, precancerous lesions, or genital warts, depending on the HPV type. The immunization helps protect against four types of HPV. Who is at risk for HPV?
In 2005, the CDC estimated that at least 50% of sexually active people catch HPV during their lifetime. Many people who have HPV may not show any signs or symptoms. This means they can pass on the virus to others and not know it.

Who should receive the HPV vaccine?
All girls and women 9 through 26 years of age.

Will the vaccine help me if I already have HPV?
You may benefit if you already have HPV because most people are not infected with all four types of HPV contained in the vaccine.

How is the HPV vaccine given?
HPV vaccine is given as an injection. You will receive 3 doses of the vaccine: your first dose, a second dose 2 months after the first dose, and a third dose 6 months after the first dose.

Are there possible side effects of the HPV vaccine?
The most commonly reported side effects include swelling, pain, itching and redness at the injection site and fever.

If you have further questions about the HPV vaccine, please contact your Ob/Gyn provider or you may visit http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/hpv/.