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).
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.
Among Canadians, genital warts were associated with a fair degree of social stigma and potential negative impact on their psyche, especially for younger Canadians.