Tue, Jul 29, 2014 - Page 4 News List

Doctors warn on sexual diseases as 7-7 day nears

DISHONEST DON JUANS:The warning followed a poll of 20-to-35-year-olds in which nearly a third of respondents said they lied to their partners about their sexual history

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

With Lovers’ Day around the corner, doctors yesterday reminded young couples to take steps against contracting sexually transmitted diseases such as the human papillomavirus (HPV), after more than 30 percent of people polled in a recent survey said they lie to their partners about their sexual history.

Among the 608 people aged between 20 and 35 surveyed by Pollster Technology Marketing from July 17 to last Tuesday, about 191, or 31.6 percent, said they are hiding their sexual past from their current partners.

Even among respondents who were willing to spill the beans, 43.5 percent confessed to having lied about the number of sexual partners they have had at some point over the past three years, the survey showed.

Participants who claimed a higher number of sexual partners were more inclined to lie about it, with nearly 60 percent of those saying they have slept with more than five people in their lifetime admitting to concealing that from their partners in the past, the poll showed.

While HPV is the world’s most widely transmitted sexual disease, nearly 22.5 percent of those surveyed by Pollster Technology Marketing were unaware of the virus and 33.8 percent did not know about the link between HPV and cervical cancer, the survey indicated.

In addition, the poll showed that approximately 48 percent and 83.7 percent of respondents respectively had no idea that HPV can lead to genital warts or rectal cancer.

“The results suggest a serious lack of awareness among young Taiwanese of this highly contagious virus,” Formosa Cancer Foundation chief executive officer and oncologist Lai Gi-ming (賴基銘) told a press conference in Taipei yesterday.

Lai said HPV infections are divided into high-risk (cancer-causing) or low-risk (wart-causing) types, with the former being known as one of the leading causes of cervical, vulvar, vaginal and rectal cancers.

“Although the incidence rate of cervical cancer in Taiwan has dropped from 46.22 cases per 100,000 people in 2002 to 10.51 in 2011 — thanks to the government’s promotion of pap smear screening — the number of women found with precancerous cervical lesions each year has increased from 632 in 2008 to 738 in 2011, indicating that the relevant agencies need to step up their efforts to conduct HPV vaccinations,” Lai said.

Lee Ying-huei (李瀛輝), a former director of the Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital’s Urology Department, said that the prevalence of genital warts among people aged 18 to 24 in the nation was approximately 2 percent.

“The incubation period from getting infected with HPV to developing genital warts can be as long as 20 months, during which the person is contagious despite showing no symptoms,” Lee said, adding that even people who have a regular partner or use condoms are at risk.

Lee said that using protection and maintaining a healthy lifestyle helps lower the risk of contracting the disease, but added that the most effective method by far is to get vaccinated.

Chinese Lovers’ Day, or “double seven day,” falls on Saturday this year.

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