Background: Data on the burden of genital warts in terms of treatment costs and detriment to quality of life (QoL) are required to assess cost-effectiveness of quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccination. We investigated the cost of treatment and period of time for which QoL is affected to obtain estimates of quality-adjusted life year (QALY) loss associated with an episode of genital warts.
Methods: Adults diagnosed with genital warts attending the York sexually transmitted disease clinic during two 3-month periods in 2006 and 2007 were enrolled (n = 189). Data on cost of treatment and duration of episode of care were collected from a retrospective case note review. QALY loss was calculated by applying estimates of the duration of time for which QoL was affected to the previously reported detriment to QoL associated with genital warts.
Results: The average cost per episode of care was 286 US dollars (139 pound, 95% CI: 246-327 US dollars). Estimated loss of QALYs ranged from 0.0045 (95% CI: 0.0014-0.0078) to 0.023 (95% CI: 0.0072-0.039).
Conclusions: Genital warts present a significant burden both to individuals and to the health service. Data on the burden of genital warts should be incorporated into economic evaluations of human papillomavirus vaccination strategies.