Recurrence of Human Papillomavirus External Genital Wart Infection Among High-Risk Adults in Montréal, Canada

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Abstract

Objectives

The incidence of recurrent genital warts is not well characterized; this is especially true in a post-human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination era. The objectives of this study were to assess the incidence of subsequent HPV-related external genital warts (EGW) episodes in high-risk male and female adults, as well as ascertain patient profile and disease characteristics, in a real-world Canadian sexual health clinical setting.

Methods

Retrospective chart review study conducted at Clinique médicale l’Actuel, a sexual health clinic in Montréal, Québec, Canada. Eligible patients were 18 to 45 years of age with a first diagnosis of EGW associated with a HPV infection between July 1, 2006, and June 30, 2012.

Results

A total of 400 first-episode EGW cases were identified. Up to 6 subsequent episodes were documented, with 194 (48.5%) patients reporting at least 1 subsequent EGW episode. Median time to first subsequent EGW episode was 3.97 years, and the incidence density rate for all subsequent episodes was 0.18/100 patient-years. Over 90% of patients reported clearance of the first subsequent episode, with median time to clearance of 0.30 years. Regardless of subsequent episode number, greater than 95% of patients received treatment, primarily cryotherapy, with high-risk sexual behavior reducing as number of episodes increased.

Conclusions

Overall, a high rate of subsequent EGW episodes was observed in this high-risk population, despite high treatment rates and improvement in high-risk sexual behavior. These data, assessed in a prevaccination Québec health care system, may be compared with future EGW rates to assess the impact of a governmentally-funded HPV vaccination program.

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