Should Kids & Teens Who Aren't Sexually Active Be Vaccinated Against HPV?
My Kids Aren't Sexually Active. Why Would They Need the HPV Vaccine?
The vaccine has the best chance of protecting against infection if a person gets the series of shots before becoming sexually active. Here's what doctors recommend:
- For kids and teens ages 9–14, the HPV vaccine is given in 2 shots over a 6- to 12-month period.
- For teens and young adults (ages 15–26), it's given in 3 shots over a 6-month period. People with weak immune systems also get 3 shots, including those 9–14 years old.
HPV is very common, affecting more than half of sexually active people at some point in their lives, often in their teens and twenties.
Some strains of HPV that spread through sexual contact can cause cervical cancer, as well as cancers of the penis, anus, vagina, vulva, mouth, and throat. Recent research suggests that HPV might even be linked to cardiovascular disease in women.
While your child may not be sexually active now, they likely will be at some point later in life. People may get HPV in their teen or young adult years, and then develop cancer years later. So getting the vaccine on time can help protect your kids' health now and later on.