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Psychosocial and Educational Services for Female College Students with Genital Human Papillomavirus Infection

Mary Jane E. Linnehan and Nora Ellen Groce
Family Planning Perspectives
Vol. 31, No. 3 (May - Jun., 1999), pp. 137-141
Published by: Guttmacher Institute
DOI: 10.2307/2991697
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2991697
Page Count: 5
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Psychosocial and Educational Services for Female College Students with Genital Human Papillomavirus Infection
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Abstract

Context: College-age women have a high risk of acquiring human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which may have substantial psychosocial and physical effects. Young women who become infected need information and support from health care professionals, but little is known about providers' attitudes toward or provision of interventions for helping women cope with HPV. Methods: A survey of 73 nurse practitioners and 70 physicians in college-based health clinics explored their perceptions of the need for psychosocial and educational interventions and their practices regarding such services for HPV patients. Analysis of variance and chi-square testing were used to examine differences by providers' type and gender. Results: At least 86% of providers agree that HPV infection has a variety of psychosocial effects on young women, but only 54% spend at least 10 minutes providing education and counseling to all of their HPV patients. Roughly 80-90% routinely take a sexual history, explain the potential of HPV recurrence and discuss the risk of cancer with HPV patients; however, fewer than half always offer a variety of other interventions that could help patients cope with the diagnosis and promote preventive behaviors. Female providers are more aware of the psychosocial impact of HPV and the need for support than are male providers. However, nurse practitioners provide counseling and educational interventions more frequently than do physicians, even when gender is controlled for. Conclusions: College-based health providers need to improve the content of the counseling and education they offer to women with HPV, as well as the consistency with which they deliver those interventions. When they are unable to provide services, they should be able to refer patients elsewhere.

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