HPV, the most common cause of a sexually transmitted infection, is transmitted when the virus enters the body through a cut, abrasion or small tear in the outer layer of skin and genital or oral mucous membranes. Some HPV infections may cause papillomatous, warty lesions on the tongue, tonsils, soft palate, or within the larynx and nose. High-risk HPV strains include HPV 16 and 18, which cause cervical cancer and contribute to cancer in the mouth and upper respiratory tract.28
There are two inactivated recombinant HPV vaccines (Table 6). A bivalent vaccine (Cervarix) is approved for use in girls and young women 9-15 years of age to prevent diseases associated with HPV 16 and 18. A quadrivalent vaccine (Gardasil) is approved for both sexes to prevent diseases associated with HPV 6, 11, 16, and 18. The duration of immunity is not known, however, booster doses are not currently recommended.