HPV Prevention

The HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention! 


Talk to Your Doctor about the HPV Vaccine

Just two doses of HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine at age 11-12 protects your child from the infections that cause cancer. The vaccine works best when your child is a preteen. Talk to your nurse or doctor about it at your child’s next physical or wellness visit. Consider asking these questions to make sure you have all the information you need:

  • How do you know the vaccine is safe?
  • What cancers will the shot protect against?
  • Why is it best to get the shot at 11-12 years?
  • Why does my child need it if they’re not sexually active?
  • Is the vaccine for boys and girls?

HPV Vaccine is Very Safe

Many parents choose to protect their child with the HPV vaccine. Some people who get the HPV vaccine have very mild side effects, like pain or redness where the shot was given. Most people do not have any side effects at all.

The HPV Vaccine Prevents Cancer

There is no treatment for HPV, but the vaccine can prevent more than 90 percent of HPV-related cancers from ever developing. HPV infections can cause:

Most HPV infections do not cause symptoms and go away on their own, but some can lead to cancer. There is no way to know which people who have HPV will develop cancer or other diseases.

HPV Causes Thousands of Cases of Cancer Every Year

HPV causes cancer in more than 33,700 Americans every year. In Colorado, about 469 people are diagnosed with an HPV-associated cancer each year.

  • About 79 million people in the United States are currently infected with HPV.
  • About 4 out of 5 people will get HPV at some point in their lives.
  • About 40 kinds of HPV can infect the genital area, mouth and throat.
  • Other types of HPV cause common warts. 

The Vaccine Works Best at Ages 11 - 12

  • Boys and girls ages 11-12 years have a strong immune response to the vaccine. They will only need 2 shots (instead of 3) if they get the vaccine at this age.
  • Vaccination protects children before they may be exposed to the virus.
  • The HPV vaccine can be given alongside other preteen vaccines like Tdap (which prevents whooping cough, diptheria and tetanus) and meningococcal (which prevents meningitis).

HPV Vaccine is for Boys and Girls

  • HPV can cause cancers in both men and women. The vaccine protects boys against HPV infections that can lead to anal, penile, and throat and mouth cancers later in life.
  • Vaccinating boys and girls helps to prevent the spread of HPV to future partners.  

HPV Can Spread Without You Knowing It

HPV is spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact with someone who has it.

  • Most people with HPV don’t know they are infected.
  • HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms.

Hear from a family physician about why, as a doctor and a parent, he is making sure each of his children receive the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12.


Talk to your healthcare provider to make sure your child is protected against HPV-related cancers!


Do Your Own Research about HPV

It can be difficult to know where to find information that is accurate. When doing research, look to make sure the author and date of the study are listed and sources of information are provided. Below are some trusted sources of information about HPV, the HPV vaccine, and vaccines in general.

Join the HPV Free COmmunity

Speak up for the cancer-preventing power of the HPV vaccine in your community! The Alliance for HPV Free Colorado seeks parents, community members and those who have experience with HPV-related cancer to join the HPV Free COmmunity advocate group. If you are interested in joining this important group, please fill out the Involvement Form.

About the Alliance for HPV Free Colorado
The Alliance for HPV Free Colorado is funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to address cancer. Members include Adult and Child Consortium for Health Outcomes Research and Delivery Science, Boulder County Public Health, Broomfield Public Health and EnvironmentImmunize Colorado, Denver Public Health, Jefferson County Public Health, Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, Northeast Colorado Health Department, Tri-County Health Department, and Weld County Department of Public Health and Environment

This campaign is supported by the Cancer, Cardiovascular and Chronic Pulmonary Disease Grants Program.

If you are a healthcare provider, visit our HPV Information for Providers Page.