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Home Genital Warts Genital Warts Genital Warts Affect Quality of Life

Genital Warts Affect Quality of Life

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A new study points to the significant emotional impact of HPV and genital warts.

Working with Canadian physicians to recruit patients diagnosed with genital warts, Dr. Martin Sénécal and colleagues examined the psychological toll of the disease by having subjects complete a questionnaire adapted from the HPV Impact Profile (a tool that measures the psychosocial impact of diseases related to HPV). Just over half the subjects were female, the vast majority heterosexual, womanhpvand average age was 31.5 years.

The investigators found that compared to the general population, having genital warts was associated with lower quality of life scores. Anxiety, depression, pain and discomfort were trouble spots for patients with warts.

These findings are hardly surprising, as the negative impact of HPV is well documented. A study by Danish researchers Gitte Lee Mortensen and Helle K Larsen, MD, used focus groups to explore the impact of genital warts on a small group of young people recruited from an STD clinic. They found that frustration with treatment regimens, feelings of shame, and worries about relationships negatively affect quality of life for men and women with genital warts. Reflecting on their findings, the investigators added the psychosocial impact of warts should be considered when considering the value of HPV vaccination programs.

Martin Sénécal, Marc Brisson, Elizabeth Maunsell, Alex Ferenczy, Eduardo L Franco, Sam Ratnam, François Coutlée, Joel M Palefsky, James A Mansi. Loss of quality of life associated with genital warts: baseline analyses from a prospective study. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 2010. First published online February 18, 2011
Gitte Lee Mortensen and Helle K Larsen. The quality of life of patients with genital warts: a qualitative study. BMC Public Health, 2010. 10:113.