Besides preventive screenings, a vaccine is available to protect against some strains of HPV. Because sexual activity is the main way that HPV is transmitted, the vaccine is recommended for girls and boys at age 11 or 12, before they've become sexually active. But, it's also recommended for people 13 to 26 years old, even if they've been sexually active, and even if they've been infected with HPV.
"Even if someone has had HPV, they probably haven't been exposed to all of the strains covered by the vaccine," Einstein said.
Getting the vaccine, though, doesn't replace the need for screening, he said. It's still important to follow the screening guidelines because not all strains of HPV are covered by the vaccine.
The American Cancer Society has more on cervical cancer.
Learn about one woman's decision to get the HPV vaccine for the granddaughters in her care here.
SOURCES: Mark Einstein, M.D., gynecologic oncologist, Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; Radhika Rible, M.D., assistant clinical professor, obstetrics and gynecology, University of California, Los Angeles
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