The HPV Vaccine – Things to Know

What is the HPV vaccine?

The HPV vaccine is a vaccine used to help prevent the development of Human Papillomaviruses. There are currently three vaccines that prevent HPV infections approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Gardasil®, Gardasil® 9, and Cervarix®.

How does the HPV Vaccine Work?

The HPV vaccine helps the body produce antibodies. These antibodies will bind to the virus in order to keep it from infecting cells. There are more than 200 related HPV viruses. 40 of those viruses can be easily spread through direct sexual contact. There are two categories for sexually transmitted HPV types: Low-risk HPVs and High-risk HPVs. Low-risk HPVs do not cause cancer. They can cause skin warts on or around the throat, mouth, genitals, or anus. High-risk HPVs can cause cancer.

The HPV vaccine for men

HPV vaccines can help protect men from certain cancers caused by HPV and warts. The HPV vaccine is a series of three shots that is given over a six month period of time. The recommended age groups for HPV vaccines for men in the United States are:

  • Boys age 11 or 12 or possibly as young as 9
  • Boys through the age of 21 if they were not vaccinated when they were younger
  • Men who have sex with other men, through the age of 26, if they have been vaccinated when they were younger
  • Men through the age of 26 is they did not get vaccinated when they were younger and have HIV or weakened immune systems.

How else can HPV be prevented in men?

In addition to the HPV vaccine, men can help prevent HPV infections through the proper use of condoms. Consistently using condoms the correct way every time you have sex can lower your chances of getting HPV. Although correct and consistent condom use can lower your chances of getting HPV, areas that are not covered by the condom can still be infected. This means that condoms may not be able to give full protection against HPV.

As always, we recommend consulting with your healthcare provider about any all health concerns.