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Disclosure of anogenital warts to sexual partners


Objectives: To investigate psychological functioning, relationship factors, stigma perception, disclosure outcomes and regret about the disclosure decision in people being treated for anogenital warts, comparing disclosers and non-disclosers and evaluating the possible predictors of disclosure.

Method: A self-completion questionnaire was completed by 54 participants recruited from a London genitourinary medicine clinic. There were 36 disclosers and 18 non-disclosers.

Results: Disclosers were significantly less anxious than non-disclosers (p<0.01). Compared with non-disclosers, disclosers also rated their relationships as longer lasting (p<0.001) and closer (p<0.01). Disclosers were less likely to express regret about their disclosure decision than were non-disclosers (p<0.001). There were no significant differences between groups with regard to depression, self-esteem, expected partner response to disclosure, or sexually transmitted infection (STI)-related stigma perception, although there was a trend towards higher stigma perception in disclosers (p = 0.15). The actual partner response to disclosure was significantly more supportive than had been expected (p<0.001). A binary logistic regression model used three variables to predict disclosure status with an accuracy of 83%. Disclosers were predicted by lower anxiety levels, longer relationship duration and higher stigma perception.

Conclusions: Relationship factors, in particular duration, were key predictors of partner disclosure of anogenital warts. In terms of individual characteristics, only anxiety was significantly different in disclosers and non-disclosers. Perceptions of stigma and expected outcome of disclosure were not significantly different in the two groups. Of particular relevance to those considering whether or not to disclose, partner response was significantly more supportive than disclosers expected and disclosers expressed significantly less regret about their disclosure decision than did non-disclosers.

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