Social marketing to promote HPV vaccination in pre-teenage children: Talk about a sexually transmitted infection

Academic Article


  • Asignificant barrier to the delivery of HPV vaccine is reluctance by both healthcare providers and parents to vaccinate at age 11 or 12, which may be considered a young age. This barrier has been called “vaccine hesitancy” in recent research. In this commentary, we suggest using social marketing strategies to promote HPV vaccination at the recommended preteen ages. We emphasize a critical public health message of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) as preventable and vaccination against HPV as a way to protect against its consequences. The message tackles the issue of vaccine hesitancy head on, by saying that most people are at risk for HPV and there is a way to prevent HPV’s serious consequences of cancer. Our approach to this conversation in the clinical setting is also to engage the preteen in a dialog with the parent and provider. We expect our emphasis on the risk of STI infection will not only lead to increased HPV vaccination at preteen ages but also lay important groundwork for clinical adoption of other STI vaccines in development (HIV, HSV, Chlamydia, and Gonorrhea) as well as begin conversations to promote sexual health.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Cates JR; Coyne-Beasley T
  • Start Page

  • 347
  • End Page

  • 349
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 2