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星期日, 4月 09, 2017

Boston Youth Host Health Fair to Promote Cancer Prevention

Boston Youth Host Health Fair to Promote Cancer Prevention
Special Guest Troy Brown and City Leaders Join Trained Youth Ambassadors in HPV Prevention Efforts
BOSTON - Saturday, April 8, 2017 - As part of a Boston Public Health Commission's (BPHC) cancer prevention initiative, teenagers from eight Boston Public Schools hosted a health fair for their peers Saturday, sharing information on testing for and prevention of human papillomavirus (HPV), handing out educational materials, and leading workshops on prevention at the Kroc Center.
 
Boston's Chief of Health and Human Services Felix G. Arroyo and Patriots Super Bowl champion Troy Brown recognized the teens for their work to educate their peers and serve as leaders for HPV prevention in their communities.
 
"I am proud of these Youth Ambassadors for stepping up to the plate and having a positive impact on the health and well-being of their peers," Arroyo said. "I think peer-to-peer engagement is one of the most effective ways of getting the message out, and it plays a major role in promoting youth leadership within our communities."
 
The youth ambassadors, recruited by the BPHC's Boston Area Health Education Center (BAHEC) received 12 weeks of training on Sexual Health and HPV in collaboration with Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston before engaging in weekly outreach activities in their schools in collaboration with School-Based Health Center (SBHC) staff. They worked with a local film company to produce two public service announcements, available in English and Spanish, that encourage boys and young men to get vaccinated against HPV.
 
"These teens understand the risks of HPV to both men and women, and serve as powerful champions for raising awareness among theirs peers about how to prevent cancer from HPV,"said Monica Valdes Lupi, JD, MPH, Executive Director. "As the public health department, we're happy to support the youth as they spread the important message that you can significantly reduce your risk of HPV-related cancers with the HPV vaccine."
                                                                   
Specific strains of the HPV virus can cause cancers of the cervix, mouth, throat, and genitals, and HPV is a leading cause of head and neck cancer in men. Nearly 80 million people in the United States are infected with HPV, and 14 million people are newly infected each year, making HPV the most common sexually transmitted infection. Every year in the United States, HPV causes 30,700 cancers in men and women. HPV vaccination can prevent most of those cancers from occurring.
 
The HPV vaccine, which is administered in two to three doses, has been proven the best protection against most HPV-related cancers, including cervical cancer. The vaccine is ideally given to boys and girls ages 11 and 12, and may be given up to age 21 in young men and age 26 in young women. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that 11- to 12-year-olds receive two doses of HPV vaccine at least six months apart rather than the previously recommended three doses to protect against cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infections. Teens and young adults who start the series later, at ages 15 through 26 years, will need three doses of HPV vaccine to protect against cancer-causing HPV infection.
 
Patriots Super Bowl champion Troy Brown, at Saturday's event, congratulated the youth on their work to spread the message that the HPV vaccine prevents cancer.

"My two sons were vaccinated, but beyond that it's great that the student ambassadors in this program are being leaders in their communities by working to educate their peers about these health issues," Brown said.
 
Despite having higher HPV immunization completion rates than the national average, Massachusetts -at 53 percent completion for females and 35 percent for males in 2015- is still working toward the 80 percent completion goal that was set out in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services's Healthy People 2020 Report.