Objective: The study aimed to gauge the perceptions of Canadians toward genital warts, related health behaviors, and treatment preferences.
Materials and Methods: An online survey supported by an unrestricted grant from Graceway Canada was conducted in February 2011 by Leger Marketing. It included 9 demographic questions and 17 questions relating to genital wart perception (2 multiple-choice, 15 four-point rating from strongly agree to strongly disagree).
Results: The survey was completed by 1520 Canadian adults aged 18 to older than 75 years, of whom 52% (786/1520) were female. Fifty-two percent of respondents stated that they would monitor an unrecognized spot on their genitals, and only seek medical assistance if it did not go away. Only 43% (652/1520) said that they would stop having sex until the spots were gone. Although only 10% (158/1520) of respondents stated that they would not inform their partner, this was much higher among men (14%, 103/734) than women (7%, 55/786), with p ≤ .01. Concerns of being judged by friends/family were high (44%, 669/1520), especially among younger (18–34 y) Canadians (60%), with p ≤ .05. Regarding prevention, 32% (493/1520) of respondents believed that monogamy would protect against genital warts and 25% (373/1520) believed they are not at risk if they use a condom. Treatment preference was in favor of a cream rather than an “invasive” treatment (58%, 886/1520), particularly among younger (67%, 283/425, p ≤ .05) and male respondents (63%, 464/734, p ≤ .01). Sixty percent (921/1520) would worry that genital warts could not be resolved; and 44% (668/1520), that they would recur.
Conclusions: Among Canadians, genital warts were associated with a fair degree of social stigma and potential negative impact on their psyche, especially for younger Canadians.