Background: Genital warts (condyloma acuminatum) remain one of the most commonly reported sexually transmitted infections (STI) worldwide. Most genital warts are caused by non-oncogenic human papilloma virus. Recurrence is common and many patients receive several rounds of treatment. There are 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, hospitalisation records and STI clinics from 1998 to 2006. To be included from the physician billing and STI databases, the person had to 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. To be included from the hospital database, the person could be of any age and have a diagnosis of AGW (A63.0), condyloma acuminatum (078.11), viral warts (078.1 or B07), viral warts unspecified (078.10) or other unspecified warts (078.19) in any of the diagnosis fields, as well as one of the relevant procedure codes associated with the treatment of AGW.
Results: A total of 39 493 people was diagnosed with AGW and during this period they had a total of 43 586 episodes. The average cost per episode of AGW was $C190 ($C176 for men; $C207 for women). The majority of treatment was with ablative therapy alone (98%).
Conclusions: AGW are associated with a significant burden of illness and costs to the healthcare system.
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Competing interests: None.
Ethics approval: Ethics approval for the study was obtained from the University of British Columbia’s Behavioural Ethics Committee.
Contributors: FM conceived the study, obtained the data, participated in the study design and analysis and co-wrote the first draft of the manuscript. GO participated in the study design, data interpretation, reviewed the final draft and gave approval for the manuscript. LC participated in the study design and functioned as the statistical analyst for this study, she contributed to several drafts of the manuscript and gave approval for the final draft. EK participated in the study design and data interpretation and gave approval for the final draft. CAM participated in the study design and analysis, supervised the statistical analysis, co-wrote the first draft of the manuscript and gave approval for the final draft. FM and CAM function as co-leads on the project and take responsibility of the content.