Can You Still Get Genital Warts If You’ve Had All the Shots?

Can you still get genital warts if you’ve had all three shots?
– Alysanne*

There is a small chance that someone might still get genital warts after having all three HPV vaccine shots. The shot protects against 90% of the HPV strains that cause genital warts. But there are lots of different strains (types) of HPV and the vaccine cannot protect against them all.

The real purpose of the HPV vaccine is to protect against cervical and other types of cancers. Experts have found that certain strains of HPV may cause cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis, anus, mouth, and throat. The shots are designed to vaccinate people against the strains of HPV that are most likely to cause cancer.

So, like most things in life, the HPV vaccine doesn’t come with a 100% guarantee. But it’s still a good idea to get all three shots: When it comes to cancer, the more protected you are, the better.

In addition, if you’re having sex, it’s still important to see your gynecologist regularly and use condoms to protect against STDs (including those strains of HPV that aren’t covered by the shot).

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: February 2015

*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.