The Effect of HPV Infection on a Couple's Relationship: A Qualitative Study in Taiwan

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Objective: The purpose of this study is to explore the effect of human papillomavirus (HPV) on the sexual lives of women and their partners. Materials and Methods: Twenty oncogenic or high-risk HPV infected cases were collected via purposive sampling. At a tertiary medical center in Taipei, 20 women underwent a 2-hour in-depth interview. The content of each interview was analyzed qualitatively regarding (1) effect of HPV infection on a couple's relationship; (2) effect of HPV infection on sexual life; (3) partner support and social support; (4) myths about love and marriage; and (5) sexual myths. Results: The better a couple's relationship, the less these patients struggled to confront the issue (HPV infection). Most patients urged partners to have check-ups and advised friends about Pap smear tests. Couple relationships were generally not affected by HPV infection, unlike their sexual lifestyles. Most patients fulfilled the traditional Chinese female role of maintaining the relationship. However, due to the physical and psychosocial discomfort of treatment and fear of infection, some had no desire for sex, while others lessened their sex frequency. Most patients received very little support from their partner, family, and friends. The relationship quality was affected by marital and sexual myths held by patients. Conclusion: Cervical HPV infection has a negative effect on women's sexual relationships. Thus, more attention from health care providers is required. © 2010 Taiwan Association of Obstetric & Gynecology.




Jeng, C. J., Lin, H., & Wang, L. R. (2010). The Effect of HPV Infection on a Couple’s Relationship: A Qualitative Study in Taiwan. Taiwanese Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 49(4), 407–412.

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