HPV, or the human papillomavirus, is a very common virus. It currently infects almost 80 million people in the United States, or one out of every four. HPV infection can cause cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancers in women; penile cancer in men; and anal cancer, cancer of the back of the throat (oropharynx), and genital warts in both men and women.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created a vaccine that helps protect against this virus. The vaccine is given in 3 shots and is recommend for preteen boys and girls at age 11 or 12, so they are protected before ever being exposed to the virus. Young women can get the HPV vaccine through age 26 and young men can get vaccinated through the age of 21. The vaccine is also recommended for any man who has sex with men through age 26, and for men with compromised immune systems (including HIV) through age 26, if they did not get the HPV vaccine when they were younger.
One of the best parts of this vaccine is it is covered as a preventative vaccine for those that have insurance! This means there is no charge for the shots!
For more information, please go online to the CDC's website