Do I Have to Be a Virgin to Qualify for Gardasil?

Is It Too Late for Me to Get the HPV Vaccine?

Cervical Cancer Vaccine
Getty Images/BSIP/UIG

It is a common misconception that you must be a virgin to get Gardasil, the three-dose human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. This bit of misinformation may stem from the fact that Gardasil is most effective in women who have not already been exposed to the four strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) that the vaccine protects against, which are transmitted through sexual contact.

As a sexually transmitted virus, HPV is more than your average STI and because it is spread through skin-to-skin contact, penetration is not required to contract the virus, making it easier to catch.

 Given the prevalence of HPV among sexually active young adults, it is best to vaccinate before the risk of exposure. But that doesn't mean that you have to be a virgin to benefit from the vaccine.

The Ideal Candidate for the Gardasil Vaccine

It is known that in girls and young women who are aged nine to 26, the Gardasil vaccination can help protect against two strains of HPV that cause a majority of cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancer cases. Because of its higher rates of efficacy when administered earlier on, the target age to receive the vaccine is around eleven or twelve years of age—before most young girls become sexually active. Like other vaccines, Gardasil is meant to protect you from disease as you get older.

That said, Gardasil is FDA-approved for use in girls up to age 26. What most people don't know is that Gardasil is recommended for young boys as well.

Gardasil Isn't Just For Girls

Though only women are at risk for cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers, both men and women are at risk for contracting HPV, which is also known to be a cause of anal cancer and genital warts - diseases that both men and women can face.

Gardasil has been shown to help protect against both.

Gardasil and Virginity

You can certainly go ahead and get Gardasil without worrying about whether or not you are a virgin. Your doctor may inquire if you are sexually active to ensure that you are taking the proper precautions to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.

But either way, you're good to go as long as you fit the other criteria for the vaccine.

More Gardasil and HPV Related Resources

Should I Wait To Have Sex After Taking Gardasil? While you do not have to wait until all three Gardasil vaccinations have been injected before having sex, you will not be fully protected by the vaccine until you have completed the series.

Can A Virgin Get HPV? Because genital contact can occur without penetration, it is possible for someone who has not engaged in sexual intercourse to contract HPV.

What Is HPV? Learn more about this virus, including how you can get it, what symptoms are associated with it, and how to prevent it.

How Do You Get HPV? Take a look at the very basics of HPV transmission.

Do I Need Parental Consent to Get Gardasil? Parental consent to receive health care, even preventative health care such as vaccines, falls under each state's legislature.

Cervical Cancer. Find everything you ever wanted to know about cervical cancer, including seven questions to ask when diagnosed with it.

My Partner Has HPV... Now What? It's a good question. Here's how to get tested, and how to protect yourself against HPV as best you can.

How to Prevent and Reduce Your Risk of HPV. More information on abstinence, the HPV vaccine, and safe sex.

HPV in Men. HPV does, in fact, affect men as well as women. It can cause throat cancer, anal cancer, and penile cancer, as well as genital warts. Unfortunately, it is harder to test for HPV in men.

Is Penile Cancer Caused by HPV? While not all penile cancers are caused by HPV, research suggests that many probably are.

Is Gardasil Safe? Research suggests that Gardasil is probably as safe as any other vaccine.


Centers for Disease and Prevention."Sexually Transmitted Disease Guidelines 2006." Sep 2006. 31 May 2008.

National Immunization Program. "HPV Vaccine Q and A." 07 July 2006. Centers for Disease Control. 31 May 2008.

Continue Reading