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Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Disease and Vaccine Information

Find the Information You Need to Make Informed Vaccine Decisions


HPV: The Disease

Human papillomaviruses are double-stranded DNA viruses found in the squamous epithelial cells on the surface of the skin and also the mucous membranes of the body.  There are more than 200 known types of human papilloma viruses (HPVs) and most are not harmful.  In the majority of cases, the human immune system clears HPV infections without symptoms or complications. 

More than 90 percent of those who become infected naturally clear the infection from the body within two years.  Antibodies to the HPV type causing the infection remain in the body to help prevent future infections but the protection may not be life-long.  Learn more about HPV…

HPV Vaccine

There are three FDA licensed HPV vaccines, however only one, Gardasil 9, approved in 2014 and manufactured by Merck, is currently available in the United States. Initially, HPV vaccines were given as a series of three shots over 6 months to protect against HPV infection and the health problems that ongoing HPV infection can cause. In 2016 the CDC recommended a two-dose series with second dose administration between 6 to 12 months from the first dose.  Vaccines, like any medicine, can have side effects. Some people who get HPV vaccine have no side effects at all. Some people report having very mild side effects, like a sore arm from the shot. Learn more about HPV vaccine…

HPV Quick Facts


  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most commonly sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. and there are more than 200 known HPV types, the majority of which are not harmful; 
  • About 75 percent of HPVs have been associated with non-cancerous warts (papillomas) on the hands, chest, arms and feet, such as low-risk HPV types 6 and 11; 
  • HPV infection is experienced by the majority of sexually active women and men and is naturally cleared from the body within two years by more than 90 percent of those who become infected.  Antibodies to the type of HPV that caused the infection remain in the body to help prevent future re-infection with that same HPV type;  Continue reading quick facts…

HPV Vaccine

  • The CDC currently recommends two doses of Gardasil 9,  the only Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved HPV vaccine currently available in the U.S. Gardasil 9, manufactured by Merck, was licensed in 2014 to prevent cervical, vulvar and anal cancers caused by high risk HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58; genital warts caused by low risk HPV types 6 and 11; and precancerous lesions caused by all of these HPV types.  The vaccine is approved for use by females and males ages 9 to 26 years.  Two additional FDA approved HPV vaccines, Gardasil,  the original HPV vaccine licensed in 2006, covering HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18, and Cervarix vaccine,  licensed in 2009, covering HPV types 16 and 18 are currently not available in the U.S.
  • Using the MedAlerts search engine, as of February 28, 2023, the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) contains more than 73,091 reports of HPV vaccine reactions, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths and, includes 622 related deaths, 7,378 hospitalizations, and 3,501 disabling conditions. Nearly 56 percent of the reported serious adverse events occurred in children and teens 6-17 years of age. Continue reading quick facts…

NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about HPV and the HPV vaccine by reading all sections in the Table of Contents below, which contain many links and resources such as the manufacturer product information inserts, and to speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.


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