What is HPV?
HPV, short for human papillomavirus, is a very common virus—about 79 million people in the United States are currently infected with HPV. HPV is transmitted through intimate skin-to-skin contact.
Every year, more than 31,500 people are diagnosed with an HPV associated cancer. Though many HPV infections go away on their own, some HPV infections 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.
HPV Vaccination is Cancer Prevention
Today, we have two very safe and effective vaccines to prevent HPV infections that can cause cancer. The HPV vaccine is recommended for girls and boys at 11-12 years of age so they are protected before ever being exposed to the virus. HPV vaccine also produces a more robust immune response during the preteen years. Teens and young adults who haven’t received the HPV vaccine can be vaccinated as well!
Talk to your healthcare provider to make sure your children are protected.
In this video, a family physician explains his decision, as a doctor and a parent, to make sure each of his children received HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12.
Education and Resources
- HPV Vaccine Infographic - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- HPV Vaccine for Preteens and Teens: Fact Sheet for Parents - CDC (Español: La vacuna contra el VPH para preadolescentes y adolescentes)
- HPV and Cancer - National Cancer Institute
- HPV Vaccine is Safe - CDC, Department of Health and Human Services USA, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics
- A Parent’s Guide to Preteen and Teen HPV Vaccination - Immunization Action Coalition
- Vaccinate Your Family, a program of Every Child By Two
- The Link Between HPV and Cancer (CDC)
- Frequently Asked Questions about HPV Vaccine (CDC)
- HPV Survivor Stories - ShotByShot.org
About the Denver Metro Alliance for HPV Prevention
The Denver Metro Alliance for HPV Prevention is a regional collaborative led by Denver Public Health to increase human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rates across five counties in the Denver metropolitan area. Members include Denver Public Health, Jefferson County Public Health, Tri-County Health Department, the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition, and the Adult and Child Consortium for Health Outcomes Research and Delivery Science. The project is funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Amendment 35 grant program to address cancer, childhood obesity, and tobacco use and exposure.
If you are a healthcare provider, visit our HPV Provider Information Page to access resources around HPV Prevention, including fact sheets, recent news, resources on talking to parents, and information on ordering office materials. There is also additional information on the Denver Metro Alliance for HPV Prevention and opportunity to participate in practice intervention initiatives.