You've probably heard of the HPV vaccine — the only shot that can prevent both an STI and cancer.
Now the National Cancer Institute is backing up HPV vaccination guidelines in a big way.
What if you're over the age of 15 and you never got vaccinated? The CDC also recommends the HPV vaccine for:
Research over the past decade shows that the HPV vaccine has significantly reduced the number of HPV infections, genital warts, and cervical precancers.
HPV is super common, often symptomless, and can be spread even if you wear a condom.
Since HPV is so common, the CDC doesn't recommend annual screening for it. Instead, it suggests regular cervical cancer screenings (known as a Pap test or Pap smear) for anyone with a vagina.
Finally, the HPV vaccine isn't new or controversial or scary.
"Anything I can do to keep people from hearing those words 'You have cancer,' I would do it," says Paskett.
The goal is to increase vaccination rates to 80% to create herd immunity, which means there is enough immunity in the population that even unvaccinated individuals are unlikely to be infected.