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Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Human papillomavirus, known as HPV, is a common virus that can cause cancer. Vaccination at ages 11 and 12 can help protect children from getting cancer later in life.

Female patient looking at tablet with female doctor

Understanding HPV

More than 42 million Americans are currently infected with HPV types that cause disease. And, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year, 13 million Americans, including teens, become infected with HPV.1

HPV is spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact. You can get HPV by having this type of contact with someone who has the virus but doesn’t have signs or symptoms.

About 90% of HPV infections go away by themselves within two years. Sometimes, HPV infections last longer and can cause some cancers. In the United States, each year, 36,000 new cases of HPV-related cancers are diagnosed.

Early vaccination works best to protect against HPV

HPV vaccination is safe and effective. Children as young as nine are eligible for HPV vaccination. Typically, the first of two doses is given when a child is around 11 or 12. A second dose is given between 6 and 12 months later.

Three doses are required for people who get a first dose after age 15.

The CDC recommends vaccination for anyone between nine and 26. The HPV vaccine is not generally recommended for people older than age 26.2

Talk to your doctor about when to get vaccinated against HPV and how it lowers your risk of developing certain types of cancer. Vaccination is covered for Humana Healthy Horizons® members under the age of 18. Children get the vaccine from their pediatrician.


  1. "HPV Infection," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last accessed October 25, 2022,
  2. "HPV Infection," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last accessed October 25, 2022,

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