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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts.

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Heather Burcham, a 31-year-old woman from Austin, Texas, suffered from cervical cancer and became a national spokesperson and advocate for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination. In this video, recorded two months before her death on July 21, 2007, she urges young women to get the HPV vaccine.


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HPV is Cancer Prevention 

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that can cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in women and penile cancer in men. It can also cause anal and oropharyngeal (throat) cancer in BOTH men and women. Every year, 32,500 men and women develop a cancer caused by HPV. 

Women are able to be screened for cervical cancer through Pap smears, however there are not  screenings available for other types of cancer that can be caused by HPV.

HPV vaccination could prevent more than 90% of these cancers from ever developing.

HPV Parent's Guide (PDF 194 KB)

HPV is Cancer Prevention(PDF 414 kb)

  • When Should My Child Be Vaccinated?
Boys and girls should receive two shots of the HPV vaccine at 11 or 12. This provides the best immune response.  HPV can be given at the same time as other adolescent vaccines. Two doses of the vaccine should be given 6 to 12 months apart.
  • Is the HPV Vaccine Safe?

Yes! The HPV vaccine provides safe, effective and long-lasting protection. The HPV vaccine has been studied carefully by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevetion (CDC) and Food and Drug Administraton (FDA).   

Like other vaccines, mild side effects can occur. Mild side effects include pain in the arm where the shot was given, fever, dizziness, and nausea.

HPV Vaccine Safety English PDF 70 kb | Spanish PDF 157 kb