With more than 79 million people infected in 2016, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common STI in the United States. Left untreated, the virus can cause genital warts and multiple types of cancer. Sounds horrible, right? Well get this: it's completely preventable. The HPV vaccine, commonly known as "the Gardasil shot," is a safe and effective way to prevent getting HPV, and is recommended for both boys and girls ages 11 and 12.
You may be wondering, "If this disease is so prevalent, why don't more people get vaccinated?" That's a great question, and in collaboration with the University of Maryland Center for Health Literacy, we're working to answer it. We've surveyed hundreds of college-aged men and women across the country to find out why people aren't getting vaccinated, and how we can increase the efficacy of advertising campaigns, particularly those put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in order to increase vaccination rates and stop the spread of this potentially life-threatening virus.