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North Carolina Immunization Branch

Vaccine Preventable Diseases

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

The Disease

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common virus that is usually spread through sexual contact. Most of the time HPV has no symptoms so people do not know they have it.

There are more than 150 related viruses in the group HPV, and approximately 40 types of genital HPV. Some types can cause cervical cancer in women and can also cause other kinds of cancer in both men and women. Other types can cause genital warts in both males and females.

The Vaccine

The HPV vaccine works by preventing the most common types of HPV that cause cervical cancer and genital warts. It is given in a two-dose, or three-dose schedule depending on age.

Who Should get Vaccinated?

Girls and women: Three vaccines (Cervarix, Gardasil and Gardasil 9) are available to protect females against the types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers. Two of these vaccines (Gardasil and Gardasil 9) also protect against most genital warts. Both vaccines are recommended for 11 and 12 year-old girls, and for females 13 through 26 years of age, who did not get any or all of the shots when they were younger. These vaccines can also be given to girls as young as 9 years of age. It is recommended that females get the same vaccine brand for all three doses, whenever possible.

Boys and men: Two available vaccines (Gardasil and Gardasil 9) are available to protect males against most genital warts. These vaccines are available for boys and men, 9 through 26 years of age.

North Carolina Requirements

HPV vaccination is not required in North Carolina.

Additional Resources