Although HPV is usually harmless, it can cause certain cancers. From 2012 to 2016, it was estimated that HPV caused around 10,900 cases of cervix cancer and 11,300 cases of oropharynx cancer among males. In relation to the total number of cases of such cancers, HPV was estimated to have caused 91 percent of cervix cancers during this period and 72 percent of oropharynx cancers among men. In general, around 83 percent of all HPV-associated cancers among women were probably caused by HPV, while 74 percent of all HPV-associated cancers among men were probably caused by HPV.
Although there is no cure for HPV, there is a vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends two doses of the HPV vaccine for all 11- to 12-year-olds to protect against HPV-associated cancers. As of 2018, around 68 percent of adolescents in the U.S. had received one or more doses of the HPV vaccine. Female adolescents are slightly more likely to have received one or more doses of the HPV vaccine than male adolescents, with around 70 percent of females receiving the vaccine compared to 66 percent of males. In 2016, a survey found the leading factor contributing to the underutilization of the HPV vaccine according to health care professionals is that parents do not perceive their child to be at risk for acquiring an STI. In addition to the vaccine, the use of condoms is also recommended to help prevent the spread of HPV.