Background/introduction Genital herpes is becoming the most prevalent STI throughout the world. Patients with genital herpes are more susceptible to psychological distress, possibly due to its natural history of incurability, asymptomatic viral shedding, recurrences, painful ulcers and risk of transmission to the partner and to the baby.
Aim(s)/objectives To study the psycho-social impact among patients with genital herpes.
Methods Study design was cross sectional comparative study using HSV infected and non-infected group attending central STD clinic Colombo. Study group was having genital herpes and a comparative group was asymptomatic and did not have genital herpes but having any other STI. Interviewer administered questionnaire was used for 85 from each group. General Health Questionnaire (GHQ 30), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Questionnaire (HADQ) and the questionnaire related to socio-demographic variables were used.
Results The demographic differences were not statistically significant. Social stigmatisation and the fear of transmitting to their partners were high among herpes. This difference is statistically significant at p < 0.001. The psychological distress among herpes group 66% (56/85) was significantly higher at p < 0.001 than the non herpes group 29% (25/85).The level of anxiety and depression among herpes group was 35% (30/85) and 23.5% (20/85) respectively. For non herpes patients 15% (13/85) and 9% (8/85).The difference in the level of anxiety and depression among two groups was statistically significant at p < 0.05.
Discussion/conclusion Patients with genital herpes had more psychological distress, anxiety and depression compared to non herpes patients.