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What is the HPV Vaccine?
HPV vaccine is important because it protects against cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. HPV is a very common virus; nearly 80 million people—about one in four—are currently infected in the United States. HPV infection can cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in women; penile cancer in men; and anal cancer and mouth/throat (oropharyngeal) cancer, as well as genital warts in both men and women.
Who should get the vaccine and when should they get it?
The HPV vaccine is recommended for preteen boys and girls at age 11 or 12 so they are protected before ever being exposed to the virus. If your teen hasn't gotten the vaccine yet, talk to their doctor about getting it for them as soon as possible. The HPV vaccine is given in 3 shots. The second shot is given 1 or 2 months after the first shot. Then a third shot is given 6 months after the first shot.
Is the vaccine safe?
HPV vaccines are safe. Scientific research shows the benefits far outweigh the potential risks. Like all medical products, vaccines can have some side effects. The most common side effects associated with HPV vaccines are mild. The most common side effects are fainting; dizziness; nausea; headache; and pain, redness, or swelling in the arm where the shot was given.
Where can I get more information?
For more information on HPV and the vaccine, visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/vaccine.html