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Human papillomavirus vaccination

J Thomas Cox, MD
Joel M Palefsky, MD
Section Editor
Martin S Hirsch, MD
Deputy Editor
Allyson Bloom, MD


Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted pathogen that causes anogenital and oropharyngeal disease in males and females. Persistent viral infection with high-risk HPV genotypes causes virtually all cancers of the cervix. The high-risk HPV genotypes (or "types") 16 and 18 cause approximately 70 percent of all cervical cancers worldwide, and types 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58 cause an additional 20 percent. HPV types 16 and 18 also cause nearly 90 percent of anal cancers and a significant proportion of oropharyngeal cancer, vulvar and vaginal cancer, and penile cancer. HPV types 6 and 11 cause approximately 90 percent of anogenital warts.

Vaccines have been developed to protect against acquisition of HPV infection and development of subsequent HPV-associated disease. This topic will cover issues related to routine immunization recommendations, vaccination in special patient populations, and vaccine safety.

The natural history, epidemiology, and disease associations of HPV infection are discussed elsewhere. (See "Human papillomavirus infections: Epidemiology and disease associations".)


Three different vaccines, which vary in the number of HPV types they contain and target, have been clinically developed, although not all are available in all locations:

Quadrivalent HPV vaccine (Gardasil) targets HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18


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Literature review current through: Jun 2017. | This topic last updated: Jun 12, 2017.
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