Taipei City Hospital's disease control department last week warmed that the number of patients with condyloma acuminata, or genital warts, has increased sharply in recent years.
Last year the number of patients who had their first consultation there reached 415, three times higher than the number in 2006, which was 148.
Also, the average age of patients dropped. A 16-year-old is the youngest patient at the branch of the venereal disease prevention and control center in Taipei's Ximending district.
The disease is an epidermal manifestation attributed to the epidermotropic human papillomavirus (HPV). It is usually transmitted by the virus through skin-to-skin contact. Due to the special cauliflower-like shape of the warts, it is known as caihua bing which means "cauliflower disease" (
According to Wong Yong-wai (
Wong also said the increase was perhaps a result of the more open social atmosphere today and increasing numbers of enjokosai (
Wong mentioned that more and more young patients have come for help lately. A 16-year-old boy came last year after he discovered some strange shapes around his anal area. He told his doctor that the symptom appeared about six months after his first sexual encounter, and that he had not used protection when having sex then.
Wong said that it is quite common that these warts group together to form a cauliflower-like cluster. They are usually not painful, but may become very itchy.
Female patients with HPV type 16 or type 18 are at high risk of developing cervical cancer and they have to receive a cervical screening every year.
Wong said the best way to prevent the disease is to have one sexual partner only, and to always practice safe sex.
Lin Ting (
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