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Hpv (human Papillomavirus)


What is human papillomavirus (HPV)?

HPV is the most common infection spread by sexual contact. It can also be spread from a mother to her baby during delivery. HPV may cause oral and genital warts or tumors in your nose, mouth, throat, and lungs. HPV may also cause vaginal, penile, and anal cancers. You may not show symptoms of any of these conditions for several years after being exposed to HPV.

What are the symptoms of HPV?

  • Painless warts
  • Genital or anal discharge, bleeding, itching, or pain
  • Pain when you urinate

How is HPV diagnosed and treated?

Your healthcare provider may use a vinegar liquid to help diagnose HPV genital warts. He or she may take tissue samples to test for HPV infection. There is no cure for HPV. There is treatment for the conditions that are caused by HPV. You will need to be closely monitored for these conditions. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about monitoring, conditions caused by HPV, and about treatments.

How can HPV infection be prevented?

Vaccinations can help stop the spread of HPV. The vaccine is most effective if given before sexual activity begins. This allows your body to build almost complete protection against HPV before having contact with the virus. The HPV vaccine is still effective up to the age of 26 if it is given after sexual activity has already begun.

Who should get the HPV vaccine?

The first dose of the vaccine may be given as early as 9 years of age. The following should also get the vaccine:

  • All females and males 11 to 12 years of age
  • Females 13 through 26 years of age, and males 13 through 21 years of age, who have not been vaccinated
  • Men up to 26 years of age who have sex with other men, and have not been vaccinated
  • Anyone with a weak immune system, including infection with HIV, up to 26 years of age

Who should not get the vaccine or should wait to get it?

Do not get a second dose if you had a severe allergic reaction to the first dose. Do not get the vaccine if you are pregnant. If you are sick, wait to get the vaccine until symptoms go away.

How is the vaccine given?

  • The first dose is given at any time.
  • The second dose is given 1 to 2 months after the first dose.
  • The third dose is given 6 months after the first dose.

What else do I need to know about how the vaccine is given?

You may need 1 dose of the HPV vaccine if any of the following is true:

  • You only received 1 dose of the HPV vaccine before 15 years of age
  • You received 2 doses of the HPV vaccine less than 5 months apart before 15 years of age

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have warts in your genital or anal area.
  • You have genital or anal discharge, bleeding, itching, or pain.
  • You have pain when you urinate.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

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.