Print    Email
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+)
  
For Parents
Bookmark and Share

I've heard about the HPV vaccine for teenage girls. But I'm not sure my 14-year-old daughter needs it since she's not sexually active. What should I do?
- Lora

The HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine actually has the best chance of protecting against infection if the series of three shots is given before a person becomes sexually active.

Some strains of HPV that are spread through sexual contact are known to cause cervical cancer, as well as cancers of the penis, anus, mouth, and throat. Recent research suggests that HPV might even be linked to cardiovascular disease in women.

HPV is extremely common, affecting more than half of sexually active people at some point in their lives, often in their teens and twenties.

While a girl may not be sexually active now, she likely will be at some point in her life. Girls may contract HPV in their teenage or young adult years, and then develop cancer years later.

It is now recommended that both girls and boys receive the HPV vaccine, which will help to protect both guys and girls from genital warts and HPV-related cancers.

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: October 2012

 
Other Related KidsHealth Articles:
5 Myths About STDs
There's lots of misinformation out there about STDs. We set the record straight on 5 of the most common myths.
About Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
You've probably heard lots of discouraging news about sexually transmitted diseases. The good news is that STDs can be prevented. Find out how to protect yourself.
Do I Have to Get All Three HPV Vaccine Shots?
Find out what the experts have to say.
Do I Need a Pelvic Exam if I Had the HPV Vaccine?
Find out what the experts have to say.
Genital Warts
Genital warts, contracted through sexual contact, are caused by certain types of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is one of the most common STDs.
Genital Warts (HPV)
You've probably heard lots about sexually transmitted diseases. The good news is that STDs can be prevented. For information on how to protect yourself and how to treat genital warts, read this article.
Gyn Checkups
Girls should get their first gynecological checkup between ages 13 and 15. Find out what happens during a yearly gyn visit -- and why most girls don't get internal exams.
HPV Vaccine
The HPV vaccine can help protect against the virus that causes genital warts and may lead to some kinds of cancer. Find out more in this article for teens.
STDs
In many ways teens today are growing up faster than ever. That's why it's important to talk to your child about sex, particularly sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Talking to Your Partner About STDs
You know you should talk about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) before the action starts, but if you're like most people the thought of having "the talk" makes you completely nervous. Welcome to STD Chat 101.
Your Daughter's First Gynecology Visit
The idea of going to the gynecologist may make your daughter feel nervous. Here's how to make her feel more comfortable.
 
Related Resources:
American Social Health Association
This nonprofit organization is dedicated to preventing sexually transmitted diseases and offers hotlines for prevention and control of STDs.
CDC: Pre-teen and Teen Vaccines
CDC site provides materials in English and Spanish for parents, teens, pre-teens, and health care providers about vaccines and the diseases they prevent.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Planned Parenthood offers information on sexually transmitted diseases, birth control methods, and other issues of sexual health.
Planned Parenthood Info for Teens
This site from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America has information on relationships and sexual health for teens.
The History of Vaccines
The History of Vaccines is an informational, educational website created by The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the oldest professional society in the United States.