What is HPV?

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common virus. An estimated 80 MILLION individuals in the United States are currently infected. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) projects that there are 20 MILLION new cases every year. HPV is spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact.

How do you know you have it?

There is no routine test to find out a person’s HPV status, only tests to detect HPV in cervical cancer screenings.


There is no treatment for the virus itself. Fortunately, nine in 10 HPV cases clear up without treatment and show no symptoms. However, if HPV does not go away on its own, it can cause various cancers and genital warts. Warts can be treated, but may come back. Cancers can be more treatable if diagnosed early, but prevention is the best way to stop HPV-related cancers.

HPV and Cancer:

Every year, 17,600 women and 9,300 men are affected by HPV related cancer.

Related Cancers:

  • Oral Cancer
  • Throat Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Vaginal Cancer
  • Penile Cancer
  • Anal Cancer
  • Genital Warts
  • Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis (rare condition in which warts grow in the throat)


HPV-related cancers affect men and women making it important for both boys and girls to receive the vaccine. The vaccine is proven safe and effective for both boys and girls. Gardasil and Cervarix are the two vaccinations available to protect against HPV. The vaccines are 100% effective at preventing the types of HPV that cause cancer and genital warts.

Dosage and Scheduling:

The vaccine is recommended at ages 11 and 12, but can be given anytime between 9 and 26 years old. Under 15 yrs. old: The vaccine is a two-dose series spread over 5-12 months. 15 yrs. and older: The vaccine is a three-dose series spread over six months.

Why so early?

No matter what disease, as parents you want to ensure that your children are fully protected before exposure. In addition, at ages 11 and 12 kids’ immune systems respond better to the vaccine than older kids and adults.


The vaccine is FREE for children under the age of 19, but administration and office visit fees may apply.


Benton-Franklin Health District, your primary health care provider or your local pharmacy.

Additional Resources:
Download the HPV Vaccine Brochure - BFHD


HPV Vaccine