Each year, more than 34,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with a cancer caused by HPV (human papillomavirus). The HPV vaccine can prevent more than 90% of these cancers, which include cervical cancer, but only half of pre-teens are getting this life-saving vaccine as recommended.
Congregations from churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship can play an important role in building healthy communities. As a person of the faith community, you can help prevent HPV cancers and save lives by encouraging HPV vaccination in your community. Help make a difference today by becoming one of the Million Cancer Preventing Congregations.
How do we become an HPV Cancer-Preventing Congregation?
Becoming an HPV Cancer-Preventing Congregation is easy. Just follow these steps:
- Talk to leadership in your congregation about the importance of HPV vaccination and how your community can help make a difference.
- Identify a champion (or champions!) to lead and organize HPV prevention activities. Choose someone who’s passionate about promoting health and well-being in your community.
- Commit to completing 2 or 3 of the activities listed below to promote HPV vaccination in your community.
What activities can my congregation take on to end HPV cancers?
You can help save lives by improving HPV vaccination rates in your community. Take on at least 2 activities from the areas below to become a Million Cancer Preventing Congregation:
1. Educate your congregation about the HPV vaccine and how it prevents HPV cancers.
Making sure people have the facts about the HPV vaccine is key to promoting vaccination. Help your community members learn what they need to know:
- Share the facts on HPV and the HPV vaccine. Post information to your congregation’s bulletin, newsletter, email list, and social media accounts. To find information you can trust, check out our HPV vaccine webpage and CDC’s HPV resources. You can also use our promotional toolkit to find social media graphics, messages, and a web badge.
- Host an event. Connect with your local American Cancer Society to invite an HPV cancer survivor to share their story and a health care provider to answer questions about the HPV vaccine.
- Engage young people in your congregation. Discuss opportunities to involve teens and pre-teens in learning about the importance of HPV vaccination.
2. Encourage each and every member of your congregation to take a personal pledge to help end HPV cancers in your congregation and community.
There are several ways to promote the pledge:
- Hold a pledge drive. Print pledge signs and ask members to write in their pledge, take a picture, and share it on social media using the hashtags #CancerPreventingCongregation and #EndHPVCancers. You can share pictures from your congregation’s social media accounts and encourage members to share from their personal accounts, as well.
- Use social media or email. Congregants can take the pledge on Facebook or Twitter and share why they want to help #EndHPVCancers and are proud to be a #CancerPreventingCongregation. Raise awareness of the pledge among your congregation and encourage members to participate.
3. Promote opportunities to get vaccinated!
The HPV vaccine is recommended for boys and girls at ages 11 or 12, but anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated can get the vaccine through age 26. Some adults up to age 45 may also be able get the vaccine after speaking with their health care provider. To help more people get vaccinated:
- Host a vaccination clinic. Connect with local pharmacies or health departments to host a catch-up vaccination clinic for your community. Contact EndHPVcancers@hhs.gov if you need assistance.
We want to hear from you! Tell us about the activities your congregation is taking on. Email us at EndHPVcancers@hhs.gov.
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