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Clinicians' HPV facts outdated.

WASHINGTON -- When it comes to human papillomavirus, U.S. clinicians who see the most patients with it are aware of the basics but aren't always up on the latest information, Dr. Nidhi Jain reported in a poster at the annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

The finding comes from a survey of a nationally representative sampling from nine clinical specialties that care for substantial numbers of sexually active patients: The 4,305 respondents (to a total 6,906 marled surveys) included family/general practice physicians (9%), general internists (7%), adolescent medicine specialists (10%), ob.gyns. (11%), dermatologists (12%), urologists (11%), nurse practitioners (15%), certified nurse midwives (15%), and physician assistants (12%).

A majority (89%) knew that "genital HPV [human papillomavirus] infection is fairly common in sexually active adults," that infected individuals often lack signs or symptoms (95%), that an HPV infection increases the risk for cervical dysplasia and cancer (98%), and that treatment of external anogenital warts and cervical dysplasia/cancer does not always eliminate the infection (92% warts; 91% dysplasia / cancer).

But only 35% were aware of recent scientific evidence showing that most HPV infections clear without medical intervention, that anogenital warts do not increase the risk of cancer at the same site where the warts are located (38%), and that the HPV types associated with warts are not the same as the types associated with cervical dysplasia (47%).

Of all the specialists, ob. gyns. had the best overall knowledge of HPV In the group as a whole, clinicians who use HPV testing gave more correct responses than did those who don't use the tests, Dr. Jain said at the conference, sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology.

"However, even the highest percentages were sometimes very low," said Dr. Jain, a medical officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta.

MIRIAM E. TUCKER

Senior Writer

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Title Annotation:Infectious Diseases
Author:Tucker, Miriam E.
Publication:Family Practice News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 15, 2006
Words:310
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