This review focuses on recent publications of clinical trials of two prophylactic human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines: Gardasil (Merck & Co., Inc., Whitehouse Station, NJ USA), a quadrivalent vaccine containing L1 virus-like particles (VLPs) of types -6, 11, 16, and 18, and Cervarix (GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, Rixensart, Belgium), a bivalent vaccine containing VLPs of types -16 and 18. In efficacy trials involving young women, both vaccines produced outstanding efficacy against primary and secondary endpoints associated with the vaccine type HPVs and were highly and consistently immunogenic. Both had excellent safety records and, as expected, the most frequent vaccine-related adverse were mild to moderate injection site sequelae. No evidence of waning protection was observed after four years for endpoints examined ranging from incident infection to cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3 associated with the vaccine type HPVs. Gardasil was also highly efficacious at preventing vaginal/vulvar lesions and genital warts. However, neither vaccine demonstrated therapeutic efficacy against prevalent infections or lesions, regardless of the associated HPV type. Cervarix has shown limited cross-protection against infection with specific closely related types while preliminary results of limited cross-protection have been presented for Gardasil. As expected, more limited efficacy was noted for both vaccines when women with prevalent infection were included or endpoints associated with any HPV type were evaluated. Immunological bridging trials involving adolescent girls and boys were also recently published. For both vaccines, serum VLP antibody levels in girls were non-inferior to those generated in young women and antibody response to Gardasil was also non-inferior in boys. The results of these studies have led to the approval of Gardasil and Cervarix by national regulatory agencies in a number of countries.