Testing positive for human papillomavirus in routine cervical screening: examination of psychosocial impact.
ABSTRACT To examine the psychosocial impact of testing positive for high risk human papillomavirus (HPV) among women attending primary cervical screening.
Cross sectional survey. Measures were taken at baseline and one week after the receipt of HPV and cytology screening results.
Well women's clinic in London, UK. Population or Sample Four hundred and twenty-eight women aged 20-64 years.
Postal questionnaire survey.
Psychosocial and psychosexual outcomes were anxiety, distress and feelings about current, past and future sexual relationships.
Women with normal cytology who tested positive for HPV (HPV+) were significantly more anxious and distressed than women who were negative (HPV-) using both a state anxiety measure [F(1,267) = 29, P < 0.0001] and a screening specific measure of psychological distress [F(1,267) = 69, P < 0.0001]. Women with an abnormal or unsatisfactory smear result, who tested HPV+, were significantly more distressed than HPV- women with the same smear result [F(1,267) = 8.8, P = 0.002], but there was no significant difference in state anxiety. Irrespective of cytology result, HPV+ women reported feeling significantly worse about their sexual relationships. Approximately one-third of women who tested positive reported feeling worse about past and future sexual relationships compared with less than 2% of HPV- women.
The findings suggest that testing positive for HPV may have an adverse psychosocial impact, with increased anxiety, distress and concern about sexual relationships. Psychosocial outcomes of HPV testing need further investigation and must be considered alongside clinical and economic decisions to include HPV testing in routine cervical screening.
- The Lancet 07/2001; 357(9271):1816. · 39.06 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Laboratory and epidemiological research suggests an association between human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). We studied the natural history of incident cervical HPV infection and its relation to the development of CIN. We recruited 2011 women aged 15-19 years who had recently become sexually active. We took a cervical smear every 6 months and stored samples for virological analysis. We immediately referred all women with any cytological abnormality for colposcopic assessment, but postponed treatment until there was histological evidence of progression to high-grade CIN. In 1075 women who were cytologically normal and HPV negative at recruitment, the cumulative risk at 3 years of any HPV infection was 44% (95% CI 40-48): HPV 16 was the most common type. The cumulative risk at 3 years of detecting an HPV type not present in the first positive sample was 26% (20-32). 246 women had an abnormal smear during follow-up, of whom 28 progressed to high-grade CIN. The risk of high-grade CIN was greatest in women who tested positive for HPV 16 (risk ratio 8.5 [3.7-19.2]); this risk was maximum 6-12 months after first detection of HPV 16. All HPV types under consideration were associated with cytologically abnormal smears. Although abnormality was significantly less likely to be associated with low-viral-load samples, the cumulative risk at 3 years of a high-viral-load sample after a low-viral-load sample was 45% (95% CI 35-56). Five women who progressed to high-grade CIN consistently tested negative for HPV. Our findings suggest that attempts to exploit the association between cervical neoplasia and HPV infection to improve effectiveness of cervical screening programmes might be undermined by the limited inferences that can be drawn from the characterisation of a woman's HPV status at a single point in time, and the short lead time gained by its detection.The Lancet 07/2001; 357(9271):1831-6. · 39.06 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Occult human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, present in approximately 20% of women in the United States, is usually sexually transmitted, associated with substantial health risks, and unpredictable in its resolution. The potential for adverse psychosexual alterations due to HPV infection in women considered at low risk for bacterial sexually transmitted diseases is substantial, but data is lacking. This cross-sectional study was conducted with sexually active women aged 18 to 60 years who had been enrolled at community-based offices in the University of Michigan Vaginitis Study. Women found to have occult HPV infection of the cervix were notified, received physician consultation, and were encouraged to have colposcopy performed to assess lesion status. Responses to a follow-up written questionnaire for differences in psychosexual functioning and attitudes following diagnosis were compared among these women and those without HPV infection. The women enrolled were primarily white and had a current sexual partner at the time of enrollment. They had few sexually transmitted infections and few risk factors, yet 20% had unsuspected HPV infection. Psychosexual characteristics at baseline and at follow-up, as well as perceived changes in these characteristics by the women, did not differ between women with HPV infection and those without. Stratification by potential confounders, including the presence of a vaginal infection at the time of study enrollment, household income level, ethnic background, age, marital status, and sexual history, did not alter these results. Women at low risk for sexually transmitted diseases, but who had a cervical HPV infection, were similar to those not infected in reported psychosexual characteristics and functioning. Adverse changes in these characteristics between the time of the diagnosis and subsequent follow-up were no more likely in those with the diagnosis than in those without.The Journal of family practice 03/1999; 48(2):110-6. · 0.67 Impact Factor