Alabama Program Uses Multi-Pronged Approach to Increase Uptake of HPV Vaccine

March 06, 2015|9:41 a.m.| ASTHO Staff

According to the CDC, human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted infection, with some 79 million infections in the United States. The CDC says it "is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives."

While HPV by itself is a relatively minor infection that will often go away on its own, there is a quite serious and alarming side to HPV: years or even decades after contracting the disease, it can cause any of several different cancers, including cervical cancer, which can be a hard cancer to detect and treat early. An effective HPV vaccine exists and CDC recommends all children—boys and girls—between the ages of 11 and 12 receive the three-dose vaccine.

The Alabama Department of Health's Comprehensive Cancer Control Program developed a multi-pronged approach to increase the uptake of HPV vaccine in the state, it's "Third Time's the Charm" campaign. The name is a nod to the fact that getting all three doses in the regimen are important for protection. One important factor in the state was that the campaign tied the HPV vaccine to the prevention of cervical cancer, disassociating it from any sexual connotations. Some of the tactics the health department used in its outreach include the following:

  • Coffee sleeves, lip balm, and wallets with campaign logo for distribution at health fairs and other outlets.
  • Advertisements placed in magazines and displayed at gas stations.
  • Facebook campaign.
  • Video released on YouTube and shown at movie theaters.
  • Multiple copies of brochures mailed to selected physicians.
  • Booth at the Alabama Academy of Family Physicians annual meeting.
  • Vaccine availability at pharmacies.
  • Outreach to university health clinics.
  • Tying the HPV vaccine to the Tdap vaccine, which is required for all rising 6th graders.

This post was adapted from "Alabama Third Time's The Charm Campaign," a story in ASTHO's Have You Shared? collection. For more information, read the full story.