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Open Access Research article

HPV knowledge and impact of genital warts on self esteem and sexual life in Colombian patients

Marion Piñeros1*, Gustavo Hernández-Suárez1, Liliana Orjuela1, Juan Carlos Vargas2 and Gonzalo Pérez3

Author Affiliations

1 Fundación para la Investigación y el Desarrollo, Bogotá, DC, Colombia

2 Profamilia, Bogotá, DC, Colombia

3 Merck Sharp & Dohme, Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, USA

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:272  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-272

Published: 25 March 2013



Information on HPV knowledge in patients with genital warts is scarse as is the information on factors related to the impact on self-esteem and sex life among them.


We conducted a cross-sectional study in adult patients with a clinical diagnosis of genital warts (GW) attending a major private out-patient clinic in Bogotá, Colombia. Patients underwent biopsy for pathological diagnosis, HPV-DNA testing and completed a questionnaire assessing HPV knowledge, and the consequences of GW on self-esteem and sexual life. Differences in proportions were assessed with a chi2 test.


106 men and 155 women had pathologic confirmation of GW. 51% of subjects had heard of HPV before consultation coming mainly from the media (82%). Less than half of the participants knew that HPV could be transmitted through non-penetrant sexual intercourse and only two thirds acknowledged HPV vaccine as a preventive measure against HPV infection. Impact on self-esteem was higher among women than men (90.3% vs 60.4%, [p < 0.01]). In men, factors related to a higher impact on sexual life were HPV awareness and age; in women they were higher education and anatomic location; external GW had a higher impact on sexual life in women (83% vs. 66%; [p = 0.05]).


We found a low awareness of HPV and low knowledge on the vaccine as a preventive measure for associated diseases even in patients suffering from genital warts, highlighting the need for communication and education on HPV. Greater impact on self-esteem in women might reflect higher health consciousness among Latin American women.

Genital warts; HPV; Psychosexual impact; Patients; Colombia