Sex Terms


A vaccine for people ages nine to 26 that helps prevent certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV). Gardasil prevents four strains of HPV, and Gardasil 9 prevents nine strains of HPV. (Gardasil 9 is the only HPV vaccine available in the U.S.) The nine strains or types of HPV that Gardasil 9 prevents account for 90 percent of cervical cancer cases, genital warts and many cancers of the penis, vulva, vagina, anus and throat.

The Gardasil 9 vaccine is given in two shots. It’s most effective BEFORE a person starts having sex, but can be beneficial even if a person has had sex in the past. People who get Gardasil 9 when they are 15 or older must get three shots.

Gardasil 9 may not fully protect everyone and does not prevent all types of cervical cancer, so it is important for girls and women to continue to see their gynecologist or health care provider to get regular cervical cancer screenings called Pap tests. Doctors recommend getting a Pap test every three years once you turn 21. Guys should also check with their health care provider if they notice any unusual lumps or growths on their genitals.

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