Psychosocial impact of serological diagnosis of herpes simplex virus type 2

A qualitative assessment

Jennifer Melville, S. Sniffen, R. Crosby, L. Salazar, W. Whittington, D. Dithmer-Schreck, Ralph DiClemente, A. Wald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objectives: To assess the emotional and psychosocial responses to a serological diagnosis of HSV-2 infection in individuals without previous history of genital herpes. Methods: 24 individuals who had a positive HSV-2 serology by western blot and no clinical history of disease were recruited from four clinics (sexually transmitted disease, maternal and infant care, family medicine, and virology research) over a 10 month period. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted to elicit an individual's responses to the HSV-2 diagnosis. Results: Three categories of themes were identified from the interviews. Short term emotional responses included surprise, denial, confusion, distress, sadness, disappointment, and relief to know. Short term psychosocial responses included fear of telling sex partners, anger at the source partner, guilt about acquiring or transmitting, and concern about transmitting to a child. Perceived ongoing responses included fear of telling future partners, concern about transmitting to a sex partner, feeling sexually undesirable, feeling socially stigmatised, feeling like "damaged goods," sex avoidance due to social responsibility, fear of transmitting to a newborn, and relationship concerns relating to the diagnosis. Conclusions: Individuals exhibit strong emotional and psychosocial responses to a serological diagnosis of HSV-2 infection. Many of the negative responses may be time limited and influenced by factors that are potentially amenable to counselling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-285
Number of pages6
JournalSexually Transmitted Infections
Volume79
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003

Fingerprint

Human Herpesvirus 2
Fear
Emotions
Interviews
Infant Care
Herpes Genitalis
Confusion
Virology
Guilt
Social Responsibility
Anger
Serology
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Infection
Counseling
Western Blotting
Mothers
Medicine
Newborn Infant
Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Infectious Diseases

Cite this

Melville, J., Sniffen, S., Crosby, R., Salazar, L., Whittington, W., Dithmer-Schreck, D., ... Wald, A. (2003). Psychosocial impact of serological diagnosis of herpes simplex virus type 2: A qualitative assessment. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 79(4), 280-285. https://doi.org/10.1136/sti.79.4.280

Psychosocial impact of serological diagnosis of herpes simplex virus type 2 : A qualitative assessment. / Melville, Jennifer; Sniffen, S.; Crosby, R.; Salazar, L.; Whittington, W.; Dithmer-Schreck, D.; DiClemente, Ralph; Wald, A.

In: Sexually Transmitted Infections, Vol. 79, No. 4, 01.08.2003, p. 280-285.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Melville, J, Sniffen, S, Crosby, R, Salazar, L, Whittington, W, Dithmer-Schreck, D, DiClemente, R & Wald, A 2003, 'Psychosocial impact of serological diagnosis of herpes simplex virus type 2: A qualitative assessment', Sexually Transmitted Infections, vol. 79, no. 4, pp. 280-285. https://doi.org/10.1136/sti.79.4.280
Melville J, Sniffen S, Crosby R, Salazar L, Whittington W, Dithmer-Schreck D et al. Psychosocial impact of serological diagnosis of herpes simplex virus type 2: A qualitative assessment. Sexually Transmitted Infections. 2003 Aug 1;79(4):280-285. https://doi.org/10.1136/sti.79.4.280
Melville, Jennifer ; Sniffen, S. ; Crosby, R. ; Salazar, L. ; Whittington, W. ; Dithmer-Schreck, D. ; DiClemente, Ralph ; Wald, A. / Psychosocial impact of serological diagnosis of herpes simplex virus type 2 : A qualitative assessment. In: Sexually Transmitted Infections. 2003 ; Vol. 79, No. 4. pp. 280-285.
@article{786cc748c82d4cfaa56b40ad3da06a01,
title = "Psychosocial impact of serological diagnosis of herpes simplex virus type 2: A qualitative assessment",
abstract = "Objectives: To assess the emotional and psychosocial responses to a serological diagnosis of HSV-2 infection in individuals without previous history of genital herpes. Methods: 24 individuals who had a positive HSV-2 serology by western blot and no clinical history of disease were recruited from four clinics (sexually transmitted disease, maternal and infant care, family medicine, and virology research) over a 10 month period. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted to elicit an individual's responses to the HSV-2 diagnosis. Results: Three categories of themes were identified from the interviews. Short term emotional responses included surprise, denial, confusion, distress, sadness, disappointment, and relief to know. Short term psychosocial responses included fear of telling sex partners, anger at the source partner, guilt about acquiring or transmitting, and concern about transmitting to a child. Perceived ongoing responses included fear of telling future partners, concern about transmitting to a sex partner, feeling sexually undesirable, feeling socially stigmatised, feeling like {"}damaged goods,{"} sex avoidance due to social responsibility, fear of transmitting to a newborn, and relationship concerns relating to the diagnosis. Conclusions: Individuals exhibit strong emotional and psychosocial responses to a serological diagnosis of HSV-2 infection. Many of the negative responses may be time limited and influenced by factors that are potentially amenable to counselling.",
author = "Jennifer Melville and S. Sniffen and R. Crosby and L. Salazar and W. Whittington and D. Dithmer-Schreck and Ralph DiClemente and A. Wald",
year = "2003",
month = "8",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1136/sti.79.4.280",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "79",
pages = "280--285",
journal = "Sexually Transmitted Infections",
issn = "1368-4973",
publisher = "BMJ Publishing Group",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Psychosocial impact of serological diagnosis of herpes simplex virus type 2

T2 - A qualitative assessment

AU - Melville, Jennifer

AU - Sniffen, S.

AU - Crosby, R.

AU - Salazar, L.

AU - Whittington, W.

AU - Dithmer-Schreck, D.

AU - DiClemente, Ralph

AU - Wald, A.

PY - 2003/8/1

Y1 - 2003/8/1

N2 - Objectives: To assess the emotional and psychosocial responses to a serological diagnosis of HSV-2 infection in individuals without previous history of genital herpes. Methods: 24 individuals who had a positive HSV-2 serology by western blot and no clinical history of disease were recruited from four clinics (sexually transmitted disease, maternal and infant care, family medicine, and virology research) over a 10 month period. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted to elicit an individual's responses to the HSV-2 diagnosis. Results: Three categories of themes were identified from the interviews. Short term emotional responses included surprise, denial, confusion, distress, sadness, disappointment, and relief to know. Short term psychosocial responses included fear of telling sex partners, anger at the source partner, guilt about acquiring or transmitting, and concern about transmitting to a child. Perceived ongoing responses included fear of telling future partners, concern about transmitting to a sex partner, feeling sexually undesirable, feeling socially stigmatised, feeling like "damaged goods," sex avoidance due to social responsibility, fear of transmitting to a newborn, and relationship concerns relating to the diagnosis. Conclusions: Individuals exhibit strong emotional and psychosocial responses to a serological diagnosis of HSV-2 infection. Many of the negative responses may be time limited and influenced by factors that are potentially amenable to counselling.

AB - Objectives: To assess the emotional and psychosocial responses to a serological diagnosis of HSV-2 infection in individuals without previous history of genital herpes. Methods: 24 individuals who had a positive HSV-2 serology by western blot and no clinical history of disease were recruited from four clinics (sexually transmitted disease, maternal and infant care, family medicine, and virology research) over a 10 month period. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted to elicit an individual's responses to the HSV-2 diagnosis. Results: Three categories of themes were identified from the interviews. Short term emotional responses included surprise, denial, confusion, distress, sadness, disappointment, and relief to know. Short term psychosocial responses included fear of telling sex partners, anger at the source partner, guilt about acquiring or transmitting, and concern about transmitting to a child. Perceived ongoing responses included fear of telling future partners, concern about transmitting to a sex partner, feeling sexually undesirable, feeling socially stigmatised, feeling like "damaged goods," sex avoidance due to social responsibility, fear of transmitting to a newborn, and relationship concerns relating to the diagnosis. Conclusions: Individuals exhibit strong emotional and psychosocial responses to a serological diagnosis of HSV-2 infection. Many of the negative responses may be time limited and influenced by factors that are potentially amenable to counselling.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0041386268&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0041386268&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1136/sti.79.4.280

DO - 10.1136/sti.79.4.280

M3 - Article

VL - 79

SP - 280

EP - 285

JO - Sexually Transmitted Infections

JF - Sexually Transmitted Infections

SN - 1368-4973

IS - 4

ER -