A Healthier Wisconsin

Increasing HPV Vaccination Rates in Adolescents

Using peer teen advocates to increase HPV vaccination among urban adolescents in Milwaukee

Full Project Name:Utilizing Peer Teen Advocates to Increase HPV Vaccination Rates in AdolescentsPrimary Community Organization:City of Milwaukee Health DepartmentPrimary Academic Partner:Denise Uyar, MD, Obstetrics and GynecologyAward Amount:$200,000.00
Award Date
Project Duration:24 months

Project Description Narrative:

Human Papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 6.2 million new cases are reported annually in women ages 14-44, with 75% occurring between the ages of 15-24. There are over 100 different types of HPV, 40 of which cause infections which may lead to a spectrum of diesease encompassing benign warts to anogenital malignancy, such as cervical cancer.

In 2007, a vaccine targeting HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18, the subtypes most responsible for the burden of benign and malignant gynecologic HPV infections in the U.S., was recommended by the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practice for females aged 11-12 years (licensed for ages 9 through 26). In 2010, the vaccine was also recommended for males in order to reduce the risk of genital warts and anal cancer.

In Milwaukee, survey data indicate that youth are engaging in behavior that elevates their risk of HPV exposure. Milwaukee's rates of sexually transmitted diseases are stikingly high, ranking second worst in the nation for gonorrhea and third worst for chlamydia. On average, over 9,000 cases of chlamydia and over 3,000 cases of gonorrhea are reported in Milwaukee each year, and despite accounting for only 3.5% of the city's population, 22-26% of those cases are in youth aged 15-19.

The goal of this project is to use peer health advocates and the power of social media to increase awareness of HPV among urban adolescents in Milwaukee who are high risk for HPV infection, morbidity, and mortality.

Community partners: Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee

Additional academic partners: Staci Young, PhD, Family and Community Medicine

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:

  • Created an educational curriculum to inform content and outreach strategies
  • Conducted a needs assessment resulting in the creation of a resource guide aimed at providing participants and local youth with up-to-date resources regarding HPV and HPV vaccination
  • Collaboratively developed and used multimedia strategies to reach youth populations in the city of Milwaukee, reaching community members via a website, outdoor billboards, and print materials
  • Engaged local youth to create public service announcements (PSAs) about HPV and HPV vaccination. Completed Public Service Announcement (PSA) projects were presented by the participating youth teams at the 2nd Annual Spread the Word PSA event and shared via social media
  • Created pre- and post-tests to evaluate intention to vaccinate, documenting that 84% of project participants followed Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices guidelines to receive one or more doses of the HPV vaccination, with 68% completing the three-dose series
  • Shared project outcomes and lessons learned at various meetings and events such as YTH Live Conference 2014 and Society of Gynecology Oncology National Conference
  • Leveraged $9,000 in funding from other sources

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