HPV CONCEPT Medicine doctor working with computer interface as medical

January 3, 2023

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of more than 200 viruses, many of which spread through sexual contact. More than 42 million Americans are currently infected with disease causing HPV infections and an estimated 13 million Americans become infected every year (“HPV Infection,” 2021). Over 80% of individuals will get an HPV infection in their lifetime and while most go away on their own, the infections that can’t often lead to cancer. Certain types of HPV can cause different types of cancer, such as cervical, anal, oropharyngeal, penile, vulvar, and vaginal (“Human Papillomavirus,” 2021). To protect against HPV, the CDC recommends receiving the HPV vaccine.  

While HPV is a group of over 200 viruses, they all fall into two categories, low-risk and high-risk. According to the National Cancer Institute, “A few low-risk HPV types can cause warts on or around the genitals, anus, mouth, or throat” (2021). Low-risk infections are more prevalent and are easier for your immune system to handle. There are about 14 types of high-risk HPVs, two of which are responsible for most HPV-related cancers (“Human Papillomavirus,” 2021). High-risk HPV infections, if left untreated, can begin to mutate cells, worsening over time, and becoming cancerous.  

The HPV vaccine can provide protection against new HPV infections. This vaccination is estimated to prevent up to 90% of HPV-related cancers, protecting against infection from nine HPV types (“Human Papillomavirus,” 2021). The HPV vaccine is given in 2 doses. The National Cancer Institute recommends receiving the first dose at age 11-12 and the second dose 6-12 months after the first dose, while children receiving the vaccine on or after their 15th birthday will receive 3 doses (2021). The earliest an individual can receive the vaccine is 9 years old. The HPV vaccine is recommended for everyone through age 26 years old. If you are over 26 years old, talk to your provider about the risks and benefits of receiving the HPV vaccination. 

The HPV vaccine is effective and safe. “With more than 135 million doses distributed in the United States, the HPV vaccine has a reassuring safety record that’s backed by over 15 years of monitoring and research” (“Reasons to Get,” 2021). Like all cancers, prevention is better than treatment. Out of 36,500 cases of cancer in the United States yearly, the HPV vaccine is estimated to be able to prevent 33,700 of these cancers (“Reasons to Get,” 2021). The HPV vaccine is an important steppingstone in you and your family’s health.  

Haven’t received the HPV vaccine or want to learn more? Schedule a visit with your provider today by calling (509) 935-6004. 


HPV infection. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, July 23). Retrieved December 29, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/about-hpv.html 

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccines. National Cancer Institute. (2021, May 25). Retrieved December 29, 2022, from https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/infectious-agents/hpv-vaccine-factsheet#:~:text=Among%20these%2C%20two%20HPV%20types,%2C%20Gardasil%209%2C%20and%20Cervarix

Reasons to Get HPV Vaccine. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, November 10). Retrieved December 29, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/vaccine/sixreasons.html#:~:text=HPV%20vaccination%20is%20cancer%20prevention,attendance%20for%20a%20baseball%20game