Background Worldwide, several million cases of genital warts occur each year. The objective of this study was to estimate the incidence of genital warts (GW) in Italy, in a sample of the general population aged 15–64 years.
Methods A retrospective study was conducted in 2009 with the collaboration of 650 general practitioners (GPs), geographically representative of all Italian GPs.
Cases of GW were identified as follows: (1) individuals diagnosed with the ICD-9 code 078.11 (genital warts); or (2) individuals diagnosed with the ICD-9 code 078.10 (warts) who were prescribed podofillin/imiquimod treatment or were referred to a specialist (gynaecologist/dermatologist/urologist). Incidence was calculated using the number of persons included in the GPs lists as denominator. Individual data on age, gender, and area of residence were available.
Results The lists of the 650 GPs included 775,644 persons; their median age was 48 years, 52.7% were women. The incidence of GW was 0.44% (95% CI 0.39–0.49); specifically, 0.41% among men (95% CI 0.36–0.47) and 0.51% among women (95% CI 0.43–0.57). The highest incidence was observed among 25–34 year-old individuals (0.64%; 95% CI 0.52–0.78), for both genders. When stratifying by geographical area, the incidence was 0.40% in Northern Italy, 0.32% in Central Italy and 0.45% in Southern Italy.
Conclusions This is the first study to provide an estimate of the incidence of GW in the Italian population attending GPs. The incidence observed is similar to that reported by GPs in the UK (Desai S, 2011; Cassel JA, 2006). These results show that GPs can have a key role in preventing the spread of GW by providing early diagnosis and appropriate referral, especially among young persons, women and in persons living in Southern Italy.
- general population
- general practitioners
- Genital Warts
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