Yes. People are vaccinated well before they’re exposed to an infection – just like measles or pneumonia. Similarly, they should be vaccinated before they are exposed to HPV. Vaccinating children at age 11 or 12 offers the most HPV cancer prevention.2

HPV is so common that almost everyone will be exposed at some point in their lives. So even if your child delays sexual activity until marriage, or only has one partner in the future, they could still be exposed if their partner has been exposed.10,11

Studies have shown there’s no correlation between receiving the HPV vaccine and increased rates of, or earlier engagement in, sexual activity.8


2. Human papillomavirus (HPV) questions and answers. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published December 19, 2017. Accessed April 4, 2018.

10. Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. National Cancer Institute. Accessed April 5, 2018.

11. Chesson HW, Dunne EF, Hariri S, Markowitz LE. The estimated lifetime probability of acquiring human papillomavirus in the United States. Sex Transm Dis. 2014;41(11):660-664. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000193.

8. Jena AB, Goldman DP, Seabury SA. Incidence of sexually transmitted infections after human papillomavirus vaccination among adolescent females. JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(4):617-623. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.7886.

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