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How Old Do You Have to Be to Get the HPV Vaccine?

The FDA has approved the HPV vaccine for all girls and boys at ages 9-12. At this early age, only two doses of the HPV vaccine are necessary for immunity. However, when you’re older, you may need three doses instead of the regular two.

The HPV vaccine has been recommended up to age 26 in women and age 21 for men. For people older then 26 years of age, the vaccine is recommended for those who meet the following criteria:

  • Adult males and females who have a weak immune system due to HIV, chemotherapy, or if they have undergone a transplant.
  • Transgender adults.

Why Is the HPV Vaccine Recommended?

Each year in the U.S. there are nearly 34,000 men and women who are diagnosed with cancer that is caused by the human papillomavirus. A number of studies have shown that vaccination against HPV can prevent the majority of these cancers from developing.

In women, the HPV vaccine not only helps prevent cervical cancer but also other types of cancers, including cancers of the vagina, anus, and throat. In men, HPV has been associated with cancer of the penis, throat, and anus.

In most individuals who develop HPV-related cancer, these cancers are detected in later stages, which makes treatment and successful outcomes difficult. The HPV vaccine can help prevent most of these cancers from developing.

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