The St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital HPV Cancer Prevention Program launched a public awareness campaign to bring more attention to the need for and benefits of adolescents ages 9-12 receiving on-time human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination to prevent cancer. The campaign will also elevate awareness of the dangers of HPV pre-cancers and cancers.
The “Path to a Bright Future” campaign was unveiled during the final segment of a weeklong seminar series featuring medical and public health experts, along with HPV-cancer survivors and parents, discussing challenges around HPV vaccination and possible solutions. Path to a Bright Future, which will include fact sheets, infographics, posters, and social assets available to partners nationwide, will kickoff in the southeastern United States where HPV vaccination coverage remains well below national averages.
“St. Jude has been actively engaged over the past several years in raising awareness about HPV. With this latest campaign, we are working to increase vaccinations and ultimately reduce the rate of HPV infections. By educating the public on the dangers of HPV and associated cancers, focusing on both the community and clinical settings, and supporting relevant policies that encourage vaccination, these efforts will help prevent future cancers,” said James R. Downing, M.D., St. Jude president and CEO. “In honor of International HPV Awareness Day, join us to help create a future free of HPV.”
HPV can cause six dangerous types of cancer (including oral, cervical, vaginal, anal and penile cancers) in both women and men and results in more than 36,000 cases of cancer each year. HPV vaccination, which is effective at preventing more than 90 percent of these types of cancers, is available and recommended for every person between the ages of 9 and 26. The ideal age is 9 – 12 years old.
Despite widespread availability and effectiveness, HPV vaccination coverage in the United States has been slow and remains lower than the national Healthy People 2030 goal of 80%. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 80 million Americans – one out of every four people – are infected with the virus.
“Together, with our campaign partners, we hope to increase awareness of the benefits of on-time HPV vaccination for cancer prevention and provide tangible resources to help peers working in community and health care settings to better meet people where they are,” said Heather Brandt, Ph.D., St. Jude HPV Cancer Prevention Program director. “We’re committed to raising awareness of policies that support HPV vaccination efforts broadly.”
The St. Jude HPV Cancer Prevention Program launched in March 2021 with a $12 million investment to focus on the prevention of HPV-related cancers around the world.