Vaccines - American Sexual Health Association

Vaccines

One important prevention tool against sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs/STIs) is vaccination. Currently, vaccines are available to protect against infection with HPV, hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Other vaccines are under development, including those for HIV and herpes simplex virus (HSV).

Hepatitis B

Who should get the hepatitis B vaccine?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends hepatitis B vaccination for:

  • Sex partners of anyone who has hepatitis B
  • Anyone who is sexually active but not in a long-term, monogamous relationship
  • Those treated for STD/STIs
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Others recommended for hepatitis B vaccine include:
  • All infants and children under age 19 who have not had the vaccine
  • Injecting drug users who share needles
  • Those living in households with someone who has hepatitis B
  • Anyone whose work places them in contact with blood
  • Those with HIV or chronic liver disease
  • Individuals in correctional facilities
  • Travelers to areas with a high prevalence of hepatitis B

How it is given?
Three or four shots over six months.

Is it safe and effective?
The hepatitis B vaccine is safe, and the most commonly reported side effect is soreness at the injection site. Those completing the series have greater than 90% protection against hepatitis B.

Hepatitis A

Who should have it?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends hepatitis A vaccination for:

  • All children
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Illegal drug users

Others recommended for hepatitis A vaccine:

  • Anyone traveling to an area with a high prevalence of hepatitis A
  • Those with hepatitis B or C

How is it given?
Two shots, six months apart. A hepatitis A/hepatitis B combination vaccine can also be given to adults. The combined vaccine is given in three doses over six months.

Is it safe and effective?
The hepatitis A vaccine is effective and provides long-term protection after the second dose. Soreness at the injection site is the most common side effect reported.

Human papilomavirus (HPV) vaccine

Who is it recommended for?
Experts recommend that all females between the ages of 9 and 26 get an HPV vaccine. About half of all new infections are diagnosed in girls and young women between 15 and 24 years of age, so early vaccination is important. Males are at risk for HPV and related diseases, too, so boys and young men are also recommended to be vaccinated.

How is it given?
In three doses over six months.

Is it safe and effective?
Both the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration say HPV vaccines are safe. The most commonly reported side effects include pain, swelling, and redness at the injection site. Some patients report fainting, so those receiving the vaccine are encouraged to wait at least 15 minutes before leaving the clinic or medical office.

Watch the video below to learn about common questions parents and patients have about HPV vaccines:

Back to Top