[SaneVax: Attempts to manufacture fear of cervical cancer was not enough to convince more than 20% of eligible adolescent girls in the U.S. to submit to HPV vaccines. According to a new ‘study’ perhaps fear of contracting an STD will change that. The SaneVax team issues a warning to medical consumers: Do not be fooled by new marketing tactics! Remember that an HPV infection is not a disease – it is exposure to a virus that clears itself from your body in two years 90% of the time. Changing the definition of STD to market vaccines will not change the facts. Do your own research – make a decision based on facts – NOT marketing tactics!]
Focus on STD, not cancer prevention, to promote HPV vaccine use
By Jeff Grabmeier
The HPV vaccine can prevent both cervical cancer and a nasty sexually transmitted disease in women. But emphasizing the STD prevention will persuade more young women to get the vaccine, a new study suggests.
These results go against the conventional wisdom that scaring women about the possibility of cancer is the best way to get them vaccinated.
The failure of that cancer-threat message may be one reason that fewer than 20 percent of adolescent girls in the United States have received the HPV vaccine, said Janice Krieger, lead author of the study and assistant professor of communication at The Ohio State University.
“Young women don’t respond strongly to the threat of cervical cancer,” Krieger said. “They seem to be more worried about getting an STD. That’s the way we should try to encourage them to get the HPV vaccine.”
The vaccine – most commonly sold under the brand name Gardasil – prevents the types of HPV, or human papillomavirus, that cause most cases of cervical cancer and most cases of genital warts, a sexually transmitted disease.
Krieger conducted the study with Melanie Sarge of Texas Tech University. It appears in a recent issue of the journal Health Communication. Many early studies of how to sell the benefits of the HPV vaccine found that the message that it prevents cancer was effective. But these studies often involved women of all ages, from adolescence to old age. The problem, though, is that the vaccine is targeted to women under the age of 26.