Background: Genital warts (Condyloma acuminate) remain one of the most commonly reported sexually transmitted infections worldwide. Most genital warts are caused by non-oncogenic Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Recurrence is common and many patients receive several rounds of treatment. There is limited data in the literature on the burden of illness and costs associated with genital warts at a population level.
Methods: Episodes of anogenital warts (AGW) were identified from the physician billing database, hospitalization records and sexually transmitted infection (STI) clinics. To be included from the physician billing and STI databases, the person had to be over 15 years of age and have a claim that had a diagnosis of condyloma acuminatum (078.11), viral warts (078.1), viral warts unspecified (078.10) or other unspecified warts (078.19) as well as one of the relevant fee codes associated with the treatment of AGW.
Results: A total of 39,493 people and 43,586 episodes were diagnosed with AGW from 1998-2006. In 1998, the overall incidence of AGW was 1.12 per 1000 population and this increased slightly in 2006 to 1.25 per 1000 population. The average cost per episode of AGW was $210 ($198 for males; $223 for females). Treatment costs per episode were on average $121 (physician related), $128 (STI clinic), and $1,065 (hospitalized). The majority of treatment was with ablative therapy alone (98%). Of the 2% who were also treated with drugs, 48% were treated with fluorouracil alone, 23% were treated with podofilox alone and 20% were treated with podophyllum.
Conclusions: AGWs are associated with a significant burden of illness and costs to the healthcare system.
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