Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination
Table of Contents (en español)
- What is HPV?
- What HPV vaccines are available in the United States?
- Who should get the HPV vaccine?
- Are the HPV vaccines safe and effective?
- Where to get the HPV Vaccine in Texas
- External Resources & Links
HPV is a virus that is most commonly spread through sexual contact. HPV is so common that nearly all men and women get it at some point in their lives. Most of the time, HPV has no symptoms so people do not know they have it. Additionally, an individual can develop symptoms years after being infected, making it hard to know when they first became infected.
In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems. But when HPV does not go away, it can lead to serious health problems including cancer. Some types of HPV can cause cervical cancer in women and can also cause other kinds of cancer in both men and women. Other types of HPV can cause genital warts in both males and females.
For additional information, please see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention HPV page.
What HPV vaccines are available in the United States?
Three HPV vaccines have been licensed in the United States: Gardasil®9, Gardasil®, and Cervarix®. Currently, Gardasil®9 is the only one available in the United States.
Gardasil®9 (HPV9) protects against nine types of HPV, including the seven types that cause about 80 percent of cervical cancer. The vaccine is licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for both boys and girls ages 9 through 26 years.
Gardasil® (HPV4) works against four HPV types and was licensed by the FDA for both boys and girls ages 9 through 26 years.
Cervarix® (HPV2) protects against only two strains of the virus and was only licensed and approved by the FDA for use in girls ages 9 through 26 years.
HPV vaccines offer the greatest health benefits to individuals who complete the vaccine series before having any type of sexual activity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends for preteen boys and girls to get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12 years of age.
Who should get the HPV vaccine?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommend that all 11 to 12-year-old boys and girls get two doses of the HPV vaccine to protect against HPV-associated cancers. Vaccination can be started as early as 9 years of age. Anyone who starts the vaccine series from age 9 to 14 years should be given two doses of the HPV vaccine, 6 to 12 months apart. If the two shots are given less than 5 months apart, then that individual will need a third dose of HPV vaccine.
Anyone who starts the vaccination series at age 15 years or older will need three doses of the vaccine to be given over six months.
The HPV vaccine is recommended for young women through the age of 26 years and young men through age 21 years who did not start or complete vaccination when they were younger. If they did not start the series before their 15th birthday, then they will need a total of three doses of vaccine to be given over six months. If the vaccine series gets interrupted, the vaccine series does not need to be restarted.
If you have further questions, please consult your healthcare provider.
Are the HPV vaccines safe and effective?
Yes. The FDA has licensed the vaccines as safe and effective. Both vaccines were tested in thousands of people around the world. These studies showed no serious side effects. As with all approved vaccines, CDC and the FDA closely monitor the safety and effectiveness of HPV vaccines after they are licensed.
Like any vaccine or medicine, HPV vaccination can cause side effects. The most common side effects are mild and included pain, redness, or swelling where the shot was given; dizziness; fainting; fever; headache; and nausea. Fainting after any vaccine, including HPV vaccine, is more common among adolescents. Most people who get HPV vaccine do not have any serious problems with it. Scientific research shows the benefits of HPV vaccination far outweigh any potential risk of side effects.
The HPV vaccine works extremely well. HPV vaccine was first recommended in the United States in 2006, and by 2014, HPV infections responsible for the majority of HPV cancers and genital warts decreased by 71% in teen girls and 61% among young women. Decreases in vaccine-type prevalence, genital warts, and cervical dysplasia also have been observed in other countries with HPV vaccination programs.
Additionally, people who have already been infected with one or more HPV types can still get protection from other HPV types covered by the vaccine.
If you have further questions, please consult your healthcare provider.
Where to get the HPV Vaccine in Texas
- City or county health department
- Call your Regional DSHS Field Office
- Call 2-1-1 Texas
- Call the DSHS Immunization Unit at: (800) 252-9152
- For email: please provide your zip code and city
- Ask your doctor or nurse
The HPV vaccine is available to all uninsured or underinsured males and females between the ages of 9-18 through the Texas Vaccines for Children (TVFC) Program.
Resources & Links
DSHS Vaccine Advisories
- Advisory 28. CDC Recommends Two HPV Shots for Younger Adolescents
Issued December 23, 2016
- Advisory 25. Updated Recommendations for Use of Human Papillomavirus 9-Valent Vaccine, Recombinant
Issued June 15, 2015
- Advisory 14. Updated Recommendations for the Use of Human Papillomavirus Vaccine, Including Use in Males
Issued April 1, 2010
- Use of a 2-Dose Schedule for Human Papillomavirus Vaccination: Updated Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
Source: MMWR, December 16, 2016; 65(49);1405-8
- Use of 9-Valent Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine: Updated HPV Vaccination Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices
Source: MMWR, March 27, 2015; 64(11):300-304
- Human Papillomavirus Vaccination: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)
Source: MMWR, August 29, 2014; 63(RR-5):1-30
- Recommendations on the Use of Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus Vaccine in Males - Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2011
Source: MMWR, December 23, 2011; 60(50):1705-8
- FDA Licensure of Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV4, Gardasil) for Use in Males and Guidance from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) Weekly
Source: MMWR, May 28, 2010; 59(20):630-632
- FDA Licensure of Bivalent Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV2, Cervarix) for Use in Females and Updated HPV Vaccination Recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP)
Source: MMWR, May 28, 2010; 59(20):626-629
- QuickStats: Prevalence of HPV Infection Among Sexually Active Females Aged 14-59 Years, by Age Group
National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, United States, 2003-2004
- All ACIP Recommendations on HPV vaccine
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Links
- CDC Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Homepage
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination & Cancer Prevention
- HPV Vaccine - Questions & Answers
- HPV and HPV Vaccine - Information for Healthcare Providers
- HPV and Men - CDC Fact Sheet