The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus with more than 100 different kinds or types. More than 30 of the types can be passed from one person to another during sex. Almost all cervical cancers and some vaginal and vulvar cancersvaginal and vulvar cancers are caused by HPV.
There is a vaccine that protects against the types of HPV that most often cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. It is given in a series of three shots. The vaccine is recommended for 11 and 12 year old girls. It is also recommended for girls and women aged 13 through 26 who did not get any or all of the shots when they were younger. (Note: The vaccine can be given to girls beginning at age 9.)