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HPV (Human Papillomavirus) Vaccine for Adults

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What is the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine?

The HPV vaccine is an injection given to protect against HPV infection. HPV is most commonly spread through sexual activity. It can also be spread from a mother to her baby during delivery. Certain types of HPV can increase your risk for other health conditions. Examples include genital warts, cervical cancer, and some forms of throat cancer. The HPV vaccine is most effective if given before sexual activity begins. This allows your body to build almost complete protection against HPV before you have contact with the virus. The HPV vaccine is still effective after sexual activity has begun.

How is the vaccine given?

The HPV vaccine can be given with other vaccines. The vaccine is given in 2 or 3 doses through age 26:

What are reasons I should not get the HPV vaccine or should wait to get it?

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

What are the risks of the HPV vaccine?

You may have pain, redness, or swelling where the shot was given. You may have a fever or headache. You may still get an HPV infection, even after you receive the vaccine. You may have an allergic reaction to the vaccine. This can be life-threatening.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.