In the recent period following the approval of the first vaccine targeted against human papillomavirus, it is imperative that we re-evaluate the past, present, and future of cervical cancer prevention. It is clear that the subject of vaccinating young women against a sexually transmitted infection has incited a candid debate among all groups involved. Therefore, we must make the most appropriate and accurate information available to the public and medical communities. The development of vaccines targeted against oncogenic human papillomavirus (HPV) types has made it possible to eliminate approximately 70% of all invasive cervical cancers in women worldwide. However, knowledge about HPV infection and cervical cancer, as well as the need to vaccinate against oncogenic HPV infection, is still lacking among women and physicians. This deficiency could be a key reason why some parents continue to have reservations about vaccinating their daughters. In order for HPV vaccination programs to be highly successful, multiple barriers must be overcome. Review of lessons learned to date has demonstrated that continued tailored and targeted educational and awareness initiatives are required for healthcare professionals, media, patients, and parents. This article also examines the impact of the HPV vaccination awareness campaign on media and public policy dynamics. © 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.