International HPV Awareness Day

HPV family

What is HPV?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus. About 80 percent of people will get an HPV infection at some point in their lifetime, but most infections are cleared by a person’s immune system. Some infections don’t go away, although researchers don’t understand why. Those that persist can lead to precancer and cancer. One out of twenty cancers is caused by HPV. 

What kinds of cancers does HPV cause?

  • Cervical
  • Vaginal
  • Vulvar
  • Anal
  • Penile
  • Head and neck 

What can I do about HPV and HPV-related cancers?

Get screened: Virtually all cervical cancers are caused by HPV. Screening tests can find abnormal (precancerous) cells so they can be treated before they turn into cancer. At this time there are no screening tests for the other types of cancers caused by HPV (anal, head and neck, penile).

Get Vaccinated: HPV vaccines protect against the most common types of HPV that cause cancer. The vaccine is recommended males and females ages 9-45 years old. The Florida Department of Health provides the vaccine for free up age 18 years. In Florida, the HPV vaccine is covered by health insurance for those ages 9-26 years.

Talk to your doctor: If you have any questions about HPV and your risk for HPV-related cancers, talk to your doctor.

FAQs on HPV and HPV vaccines are available on the CDC website.
Learn more in our Infographic: HPV Vaccine is Key to Preventing Certain Cancers.


What is Moffitt doing about HPV and HPV-related cancers?

  • Research
    • Natural history of HPV
    • Vaccine trials
    • Factors influencing vaccine recommendation and uptake
    • Improving treatment of HPV-related cancers

Moffitt faculty members conducting this research are Christine Chung, Jimmy Caudell, Heiko Enderling, Anna Giuliano, Anthony Magliocco, Kristen Otto, Shari Pilon-Thomas, Dana Rollison, Julian Sanchez, Erin Siegel, Philippe Spiess, Susan Vadaparampil, and Bruce Wenig

  • Collaborating with stakeholders
    • Partnership to Immunize Teens and Children against HPV (PITCH)
    • HPV Awareness & Action Coalition: Led by U.S. Representative Kathy Castor the coalition’s goal is to increase HPV vaccination rates in Tampa Bay. Coalition members include Moffitt Cancer Center, USF School of Public Health, Baycare, American Cancer Society, Tampa Family Health Center, Hillsborough County Health Department, PITCH (Pinellas Immunization Team for Community Health), Hillsborough County Immunization Task Force, Florida Association of School Nurses, Hillsborough County Health Department, Pinellas County Health Department, and RN Cancer Guides.
    • Increasing HPV Vaccination in the United States: A Collaboration of NCI-funded Cancer Centers. Participating cancer centers and universities include: Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center, Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center, Duke Cancer Center, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, Huntsman Cancer Center, IU Melvin & Bren Simon Cancer Center, Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Louisiana State University Health Science Center, Markey Cancer Center, Massey Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Moffitt Cancer Center, Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Oregon Health and Science University, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, University of Alabama Birmingham Medical Center, University of Hawaii Cancer Center, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, UW Carbone Cancer Center, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, and Washington University St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
  • Treatment

Want to get involved?

  • Raise awareness of HPV – what it is, how to prevent it, how to screen for it.
  • Support Moffitt research – The HPV research is under the umbrella of the Center for Infection Research in Cancer (CIRC), Moffitt’s Center of Excellence for infection-related research. Give to the Moffitt Foundation and tell them to use the funds for CIRC/HPV research.