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J Health Psychol. 2010 Mar;15(2):279-90. doi: 10.1177/1359105309351249.

The psychosocial burden of HPV: a mixed-method study of knowledge, attitudes and behaviors among HPV+ women.

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Department of Community and Family Health, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.


Despite an increased awareness and 'normalization' of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) following the release of the HPV vaccine, the psychosocial impact of an HPV infection, the most common sexually transmissible infection (STI), must not be overshadowed. This study employed in-depth interviews (N = 52) and quantitative surveys (N = 154) to assess the knowledge, emotional impact and behavioral consequences of an HPV-related diagnosis in women who had received abnormal Pap test results. Findings revealed confusion over test results and themes related to stigma, fear, self-blame, powerlessness and anger emerged. The promotion of the HPV vaccine should not obfuscate the psychosocial burden associated with an HPV diagnosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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