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In addition to providing protection against the HPV types included in these vaccines, the vaccines have been found to provide partial protection against a few additional HPV types that can cause cancer, a phenomenon called cross-protection.The vaccines do not prevent other sexually transmitted diseases, nor do they treat existing HPV infections or HPV-caused disease.Most high-risk HPV infections occur without any symptoms, go away within 1 to 2 years, and do not cause cancer.Some HPV infections, however, can persist for many years.Because none of the currently available HPV vaccines protects against all HPV infections that cause cancer, it is important for vaccinated women to continue to undergo cervical cancer screening.
Gardasil and Gardasil 9 are also approved for use in males for the prevention of HPV-caused anal cancer, precancerous anal lesions, and genital warts.
Because the infection is so common, most people get HPV infections shortly after becoming sexually active for the first time (13, 14). Someone can have an HPV infection even if they have no symptoms and their only sexual contact with an HPV-infected person happened many years ago.
HPV vaccination can reduce the risk of infection by the HPV types targeted by the vaccine.
Three vaccines are approved by the FDA to prevent HPV infection: Gardasil, Gardasil 9, and Cervarix.
All three vaccines prevent infections with HPV types 16 and 18, two high-risk HPVs that cause about 70% of cervical cancers and an even higher percentage of some of the other HPV-associated cancers (9, 10).