Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV—human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. It is an equal opportunity virus, infecting both men and women. Yes, Men can get infected with HPV, and most do—it’s so common that nearly all sexually active people will have HPV at some point in their lives. It can be passed to a male or female partner through vaginal, anal, and oral sex, or even just through genital skin-to-skin contact. HPV often has no visible signs or symptoms; anyone can get the virus and pass it on without even knowing it.

  • About 14 million Americans, including teens, become infected with HPV each year.
  • HPV is estimated to cause nearly 36,000 cases of cancer in men and women every year in the United States.
  • In the United States, about 42% of adults ages 18-59 years have genital human papillomavirus (HPV) infections and about 7% have oral HPV.
  • Experts estimate 80% of sexually active people are infected.

HPV vaccination can prevent more than 32,000 of the 36,000 cases of cancers from ever developing by preventing the infections that cause those cancers. That’s the same as the average attendance for a baseball game.

HPV Vaccine

Health Services offers the HPV vaccine, Gardasil 9, which can prevent genital warts and many kinds of cancers in both males and females ages 9 to 26. Gardasil 9 is given as 3 injections over 6 months. The second dose is given 2 months after the first dose. The third dose is given 6 months after the first dose. For the best protection, all three doses should be given on time.

HPV vaccines offer the best protection to girls and boys who receive all three vaccine doses and have time to develop an immune response before being sexually active with another person. That’s why HPV vaccination is recommended for preteen girls and boys at age 11 or 12 years.

In addition to girls and boys aged 11 or 12 years, HPV vaccines are also recommended for teen boys and girls who did not get the vaccine when they were younger, teen girls and young women through age 26, as well as teen boys and young men through age 21.

The vaccine is also recommended for gay and bisexual men (or any man who has sex with a man). It is also recommended for men and women with compromised immune systems (including people living with HIV/AIDS) through age 26, if they did not get fully vaccinated when they were younger.

There are several ways the HPV vaccines can be paid for.

  • Private Health Insurance
    • All Health Insurance Marketplace plans and most other private insurance plans must cover HPV vaccine without charging a copayment or coinsurance when provided by an in-network provider.
    • This is true even for patients who have not met a yearly deductible.
    • Doses, recommended ages, and recommended populations for these vaccines vary.

    Check with your insurance provider for details of coverage.

  • If your insurance policy does not cover the vaccine, Health Services can help you apply for patient assistance through Merck.
  • Health Services can Bill the Cost to Your Student Account.
    • This charge would need to be paid before the end of the current semester.