How Do You Prevent Human Papillomavirus?

To reduce the risk of developing HPV, or human papillomavirus, request vaccination, use condoms, and limit sexual partners or avoid having sex, advises the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Two vaccines provide some protection against HPV in women and girls and one is available for men and boys, as of 2015.

Gardasil and Cervarix are two vaccines for women and girls, notes the CDC. These vaccines protect females from the types of HPV that cause most incidences of cervical cancer. Gardasil protects females from genital warts, and cancer of the anus, vagina and vulva. The CDC recommends the vaccine for girls ages 11 through 12 and women up to age 26 who did not receive the vaccine earlier in life.

Boys ages 11 through 12 and unvaccinated males under age 21 should also get the Gardasil vaccine, advises the CDC. The CDC also recommends the vaccine for gay or bisexual unvaccinated men under age 26. The vaccine protects men from anal cancers and genital warts caused by HPV.

Practicing safe sex by using condoms during sexual intercourse also reduces the risk of HPV infection, notes the CDC. Limiting sexual partners and being faithful to one person also reduces the risk of infection. Abstaining from sex altogether is the only way to avoid completely the possibility of contracting HPV.