Patient satisfaction with care for genital herpes: insights from a global survey
OBJECTIVE: To describe patient experiences and views regarding genital herpes management. METHODS: Between February 2002 and January 2003, subjects with genital herpes were recruited via the International Herpes Alliance website and through banners on additional sites. Surveys were available in English, French, Spanish, Italian, and German and assessed views on access to care, diagnosis, related emotional experiences, educational resources, counselling, pharmacotherapy, and satisfaction with care. RESULTS: 2075 patient responses from 78 countries were analysed. 49% reported their diagnosis was by culture (or other direct detection) and 9% by antibody test, while 34% reported they had been diagnosed by examination alone. 65% used a prescription antiviral therapy, 18% a topical antiviral therapy, and 17% an alternative therapy. Of 901 subjects who reported on frequency of antiviral use, only 30% reported a frequency consistent with a suppressive regimen while 59% of respondents said they would be likely to take daily therapy if it reduced the frequency of outbreaks. Patient satisfaction with management of physical symptoms was independently associated with duration of initial visit >or=15 minutes (adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 4.52), receiving a prescription (adj OR = 2.34) and receipt of a brochure/fact sheet (adj OR = 2.14). Satisfaction with attention to emotional issues also correlated with the first two of these factors. CONCLUSIONS: Genital herpes management may be improved by including the use of confirmatory laboratory testing, employing a full range of antiviral therapy options, providing educational materials, and committing more time to counselling at the initial visit.