HPV stands for Human Papillomavirus, and is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). It’s so common that most sexually active adults will get some variety of it at some point, even if they have few sexual partners.
Certain types of HPV can also can cause precancerous and cancerous lesions in the cervix of the women’s womb. In most cases, the body’s immune system can fight off the infection and clear the virus. However, the HPV infection can sometimes persist and cause abnormal changes to the cells, which develop into cervical cancer.
The HPV vaccine produces the strongest immune response in preteens.
To work best, the HPV vaccines should be given between the ages of 9 to 12.
Vaccination of children and teens is the most effective in preventing HPV infection and cancers, as research shows that younger people have a better immune response to the vaccine than those in their late teens and early 20s. The vaccines are most effective if given before one’s first sexual exposure.