Frequently Asked Questions

How is HPV spread?

HPV is spread through any type of skin-to-skin genital contact with a person who has HPV. You do not have to have sexual intercourse to get HPV. However, it is NOT spread by.
1. Toilet seats,
2. Kissing on the mouth, hugging or hold hands,
3. Bad hygiene
4. Sharing food or utensils, or
5. Swimming in pools or hot tubs.

You are at high risk of getting HPV if you have vaginal, anal or oral sex with a person who has genital HPV.

Where can I get the HPV Vaccination?

Talk to your doctor about getting the HPV vaccine. Some women between the ages of 9 and 18 can get the HPV vaccine free or low-cost through Vaccines for Children (VCF). Click here to see if you qualify, and where you can get VCF vaccines.

How serious is HPV?

HPV is very common but can become serious. There are over 100 strains of HPV and by age 50, most women will have HPV. HPV doesn’t usually cause any symptoms and most people who have HPV do not even know that they have it.

Signs of HPV infection can show up weeks, months, or even years later. In fact, HPV often clears up without treatment. However, if it doesn’t clear up, high-risk strains of HPV can cause cervical cancer and low-risk strains can cause genital warts. 3,700 women die of cervical cancer in the U.S. each year.

I already have HPV, should I still get the vaccine?

Yes, the most current HPV vaccine protects against four types of HPV. Because there are so many different types of HPV, women who have been previously diagnosed with HPV may still receive protection against other HPV types by getting the vaccination. Talk to your doctor to see if the HPV vaccine is right for you.

Are there different types of HPV vaccines?

Currently, Gardasil® is the only FDA-approved vaccine for use against HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18. HPV types 16 and 18 cause most cervical cancers.

Tests of the vaccine, Gardasil®, showed only minor problems upon injection. Some people had a slight fever. Others had redness or irritation at the injection site. Gardasil® is between 95-100% effective against HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18.