The psychosocial burden of human papillomavirus related disease and screening interventions

Sex Transm Infect. 2009 Dec;85(7):508-13. doi: 10.1136/sti.2009.037028. Epub 2009 Aug 24.


Objectives: (i) To assess the psychosocial burden of testing for human papillomavirus (HPV) related genital disease or of a HPV-related diagnosis; (ii) to compare an instrument specifically designed to measure HPV-related psychosocial burden with other generic quality of life (QoL) instruments.

Methods: A cross-sectional design. Researchers recruited women from outpatient clinics at a major tertiary women's hospital and a sexual health centre who completed surveys within 3 months of receiving

Results: 331 women, 18-45 years, who had experienced a normal cervical Papanicolaou (Pap) result, an abnormal Pap result, biopsy confirmed cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) or external genital warts (EGW).

Main outcome measures: The HPV impact profile (HIP) designed to assess the psychosocial impact of HPV; two general health-related QoL surveys-the EuroQoL VAS and the Sheehan disability scale; and a HPV knowledge survey.

Results: Response rate was 78%. Significant psychosocial impacts were found for women screened for, or having a diagnosis of, HPV-related genital disease. The largest impact was in women with CIN 2/3 and EGW. This HPV-related psychosocial impact was most sensitively detected with the HIP. Relative to generic measures of QoL, the HIP provided insight into the full range of psychosocial impacts of HPV testing and diagnoses.

Conclusions: Clinicians need to be aware of the potential psychosocial impact of testing for or diagnosing HPV-related genital disease, in particular CIN 2/3 and EGW. The HIP survey is a more sensitive measure of the psychosocial impact of HPV-related genital disease than generic QoL surveys.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cost of Illness
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Papanicolaou Test
  • Papillomavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Papillomavirus Infections / psychology*
  • Quality of Life
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / prevention & control
  • Uterine Cervical Dysplasia / psychology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Vaginal Smears
  • Young Adult