Safe Sex and STDs

HPV Vaccine Myths vs. Facts

Yumhee Park Sep 9th, 2014 (updated Sep 20th, 2016)
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Are you still deciding if you or your child should get the HPV vaccine? Hesitating because of things you've heard? Here are the myths and facts surrounding the vaccine. 

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Myth: The vaccine works only for pre-teens
Myth: The vaccine works only for pre-teens

Fact:  While the vaccine is intended to be taken before any sexual activity occurs, and recommended for children around age 11 or 12, the vaccine can be administered to young women through age 26.

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Myth: Only girls need to get the HPV vaccine
Myth: Only girls need to get the HPV vaccine

Fact: The vaccine can be given to young men through age 21. Young gay men and men with compromised immune systems should get the vaccine through age 26. This will provide them with protections against the cancers that can develop, such as anal or penile cancer.

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Myth: The HPV vaccine is unsafe
Myth: The HPV vaccine is unsafe

Fact: The HPV vaccine is safe and effectiveAll vaccines in the U.S. are required to go through years of extensive safety testing before being given a FDA license. Both HPV vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix are being monitored for any adverse events. There have been no serious safety concerns confirmed in any of the studies.   

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Myth: The HPV vaccine will cause cancer
Myth: The HPV vaccine will cause cancer

Fact: The HPV vaccine’s is made from one protein of the virus that cannot cause infection or cancer. Its purpose is preventive and most effective when given before being exposed to the virus.

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Myth: The HPV vaccine may cause fertility issues
Myth: The HPV vaccine may cause fertility issues

Fact: Getting the HPV vaccine protects a woman's ability to get pregnant and have healthy babies. By protecting against the cancers that can develop from HPV, a woman's ability to get pregnant is protected. The problems that can arise with delivery from treating pre-cancers or having a baby when infected with HPV are greatly reduced by the HPV vaccine.