The roles of self-efficacy and pretest counseling in type 2 herpes simplex virus screening in asymptomatic adults.
To evaluate the role of counseling for patients undergoing screening for type 2 herpes simplex virus (HSV-2). Using pre- and post-screening questionnaires, we evaluated correlations between demographic factors, measures of self-efficacy and follow-through with the screening test, and willingness to take antiviral medication and share results with sexual partners.
Subjects (N= 115) were recruited as part of usual care at a private, urban family practice. A total of 111 subjects completed pre-screening questionnaires, and 38 completed post-screening questionnaires.
The overwhelming majority of participants were (a) willing to undergo screening; (b) take suppressive antiviral medication if necessary; (c) share their results with sexual partners; and (d) consider safer sexual practices as a consequence of screening. Older patients were less willing to consider daily antiviral medication. Men who have sex with men (MSM) had lower perceived susceptibility to HSV-2 but were more likely to undergo and report screening.
Implications for practice
Future research should include predictive models for determining the most appropriate patients to screen for HSV-2 and best practices for those who test positive. Shared decision making between patients and advanced practice nurses regarding the risks and benefits of screening for HSV-2 should be a component visits that include sexually transmitted disease screening. Particular attention should be paid to those at higher risk for contracting the virus, including patients with HIV and MSM.
Freeman, M; Zychowicz, M; Feldman, G; Gordon, S
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