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What you need to know about preventive services

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Home > What Are Preventive Sexual Health Services? > Preventive Sexual Health Services for People with a Vagina/Vulva > Vaccines

Vaccines

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine

This series of two shots is recommended for those aged 11-12 (but as early as age 9) before they’ve been exposed to HPV through sexual activity. The first dose is followed by the second dose 6-12 months later. (Children who start the vaccine on or after their 15th birthday might need three doses).

However, the vaccine is also recommended for people up to age 26 if not adequately vaccinated previously. Some individuals ages 27 to 45 may also benefit from being vaccinated. Talk to your provider to see if you’re eligible and if it’s right for you.

HPV is extremely common. Although most infections go away on their own, some types of HPV cause cancer – including cervical, throat, anal, penile, vaginal, and vulvar) and other types of HPV cause genital warts.

The HPV vaccine protects against the most common types of HPV that cause genital warts and some cancers of the anus, penis, and throat.
To learn more, visit cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/hpv/public/index.html.

Hepatitis A Vaccine

This two-shot series is recommended for all children 12 to 23 months old, and unvaccinated children and adolescents 2 to 18 years of age. Those who are missing the last dose should complete the series in order to be fully protected against hepatitis A. Adults with a vagina/vulva should get this vaccine series if their partner or someone they live with has hepatitis A, if they have HIV, or if they use illicit drugs.

The hepatitis A virus attacks the liver. There is no treatment for hepatitis A. While most people recover without permanent liver damage, they will probably feel very sick for a while. Not sure if you’ve been vaccinated? Routine vaccination began in 1999 so older teens and most adults have not been vaccinated.

To learn more, visit cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/aFAQ.htm.

Hepatitis B Vaccine

This three-shot series is recommended for all unvaccinated people with a vagina/vulva ages 0 to 18. Teens who have started, but not finished the series, should get the remaining doses in order to be fully protected against the hepatitis B virus. Unvaccinated adults with a vagina/vulva should get this vaccine series if they have multiple partners, a partner who has hepatitis B, have been diagnosed with HIV or another STI, have unprotected sex with a partner whose health status they don’t know, share drug injection equipment (including needles or syringes), or have a partner who injects drugs.

If you were born in a country where hepatitis B is common (Asia, Africa, the Pacific Islands, parts of South America) or were born in the United States to parents from one of those countries, talk to your provider about being vaccinated. You may be given the first dose and tested for the virus at the same time.

Hepatitis B is a virus that attacks the liver. It is spread through infected body fluids, including blood and semen. Infection can either be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). People with hepatitis B may not look or feel sick but can still infect others. Vaccination is the best protection against hepatitis B. Not sure if you’ve been vaccinated? If you were born in the United States in 1991 or later, you were most likely vaccinated as an infant. Before 1991, the vaccine was only given to high-risk adults.

 

HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M AT RISK?

Your sexual health is at risk if you answer “yes” to any of the following questions:

• Have you had unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex (sex without a condom)?

• Do you have multiple partners?

• Do you have an STI, including HIV?

• Have you shared injection drug equipment, including needles or syringes?

• Do you exchange sex for drugs or money?

• Do you have a partner who answers “yes” to any of these questions or whose health status you don’t know?