DEAR ABBY: After reading the letter from "Keeping My Pants On in Florida," I believe further information regarding genital warts should be presented to the public.
Genital warts are caused by human papilloma virus (HPV) and may have an incubation period of many years. Conservative estimates state that at least 50 percent of sexually active persons have been exposed to the virus. Therefore, if someone or his/her sex partner has had two or more sexual partners, it is not unlikely that they have been exposed.
Certain types of HPV have been implicated as the cause of both cervical and penile cancer, which is why annual Pap smears and male genital exams are so important.
Since the virus is so prevalent and the incubation period can be so long, it seems more likely that this young man's condition came from his previous unprotected sexually active lifestyle. When this condition is diagnosed in my patients, I strongly encourage them not to place the blame on their current sexual partner, as they may have been exposed many years earlier.
I felt sorry for the young lady the man blamed in his letter. She seemed to be a woman of high moral values, and now she's being blamed for something that may not have been her fault.
She should contact her doctor immediately and schedule a Pap smear if she has not already done so. -- DANIEL E. KONOLD, D.O., CANAL WINCHESTER FAMILY HEALTH, CANAL WINCHESTER, OHIO
DEAR DR. KONOLD: I was not aware that genital warts can have such a long incubation period. I'm sure it will also be news to many of my readers. Thank you for pointing this out.