Regional health experts host summit to increase HPV vaccine rates

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Health leaders are hoping a summit will help increase the amount of people vaccinated for the Human papillomavirus.

MGN Online

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection that can cause cancer.

At a summit held inside the Florian Gardens regional health experts explored updates on diseases caused by HPV, as well as current information on vaccine safety, and ways to advocate for HPV immunizations.

Regional experts and community health organizations are hoping by sharing this information it will, in turn, help patients across Wisconsin.

Professor James Conway with UW-Madison explained, “The hope is we can take best practices and successful activities that organizations have done to try and spread the word and use those same techniques to try and improve the information that's shared in the communities and also to get providers to be more insistent and help people understand how important these vaccines are.”

Around 60 health professionals listened to about a dozen speakers from western Wisconsin.

Pediatrician Raj Naik with Gunderson Health System said, “This is a great opportunity to collaborate and to shortcut the process for other organizations to really get to what we want to do which is to help people avoid getting cancers that are completely preventable.”

Health professionals say while the HPV vaccine is the leading way to prevent cancer in the United States, it's being underutilized.

“HPV is a bad virus is a bad virus, it causes cancer. Cancer is bad and we have tool to prevent cancer so we need to use this to its maximum effectiveness,” added Naik.

Event organizers say they hope to engage all health representatives in activities that can prevent cancer in their patients.

Conway said, “It's important to bring them together to give people an opportunity to ask each other questions and share really what the best things are that they've done for their communities so others can benefit as well.”

Event organizers say they hope to continue to host these events across Wisconsin. There is another summit scheduled for the spring.

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