HPV VACs - Just the Facts

FACT 1- The HPV vaccine is effective in preventing cancer

The vaccine has been proven, through numerous studies, to prevent the cell changes that can lead to HPV-associated cancers such as:

  • cervical cancer (most common),
  • vaginal and vulvar cancers in women,
  • penile cancer in men,
  • throat cancer, mouth cancers, and anal cancers in both men and women.

In addition, population studies in the US and other countries that have introduced the HPV vaccine have shown a significant reduction in abnormal Pap test results and genital warts.

FACT 2- The HPV vaccine is safe

More than 200 million doses of vaccine have been administered worldwide, with more than 80 million doses in the US. While the safety of these vaccines is continually monitored in 80 countries, no safety concerns have been identified. 

All vaccines have side effects, but reactions caused by HPV vaccines have been mostly mild and similar to those from other vaccines.

The most common side effects are:

  • Pain and redness at the site of injection/Fever
  • Lightheadedness/fainting


FACT 3- The HPV vaccine is for girls and boys

HPV vaccination is strongly recommended for girls and boys. Both females and males can get HPV. 

Research shows that younger people create more antibodies to the vaccine than those in their late teens. 

In addition, when boys are vaccinated, they are less likely to spread HPV to their current and future partners.

FACT 4 - The HPV vaccine is necessary even if your child isn't yet sexually active

Vaccines are for prevention, not treatment, so they only work if given before coming into contact with a virus.

Since the CDC estimates that between 80-90% of sexually active people will be infected with at least one type of HPV in their lifetime, it makes sense to vaccinate BEFORE that happens.

Studies have shown that HPV vaccination is not associated with increased sexual activi- ty. Age of onset of sexual activity, incidence of STIs, and rates of pregnancy have all been shown to be similar in vaccinated girls compared to unvaccinated girls.


Related link: This powerful HPV vaccine advocate passed away in March of 2019 at age 26. View Laura Brennan's video to learn more.