HPV vaccine: Information for people age 27-45 considering vaccination
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common sexually transmitted infection passed from one person to another during intimate contact. Half of all sexually active people have HPV at some point, with no symptoms. These HPV infections usually go away on their own.
However, some HPV infections are more serious, causing cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine protects against the most common HPV types that can cause serious problems. The best way to prevent cervical cancer is with HPV vaccination before becoming sexually active.
This is one of the main reasons we recommend HPV vaccine for children age 11 to 12 – to create protection before sexual activity begins. Additionally, research shows that younger people have a better immune response to the vaccine than those in their late teens and early 20s. Catch-up vaccination is recommended through age 26 for people not fully vaccinated with the multi-dose HPV vaccine.
When the vaccine is given before you're sexually active, it can prevent almost all infection by the types of HPV the vaccine guards against.
What about vaccination over age 26?
Vaccination is not recommended for most people older than age 26 years. Most adults in this age group would have no or little benefit from vaccination. However, some people age 27 through 45 years may decide to get HPV vaccine because of their risk for new HPV infections and possible benefits of vaccination.
Considerations for getting the vaccine:
- You've never received the HPV vaccine and you’ve never had sex or had a limited number of sexual partners.
- You are at risk for new HPV infections with future sexual partners.
- Getting the vaccine after being sexually active might protect against HPV strains you haven’t been exposed to yet.
Considerations for not getting the vaccine:
- You've been sexually active and likely been exposed to HPV viruses included in the vaccine, making it ineffective at protecting you against these strains of HPV.
- You have low to no risk for new HPV infection. People in a long-term, mutually monogamous sexual partnership are not likely to acquire a new HPV infection.
- Effectiveness of the vaccine might be low if you have certain immunocompromising conditions.
If you have more questions about getting the HPV vaccine, please talk with your doctor.
For more information about HPV vaccine, visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.