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Survey reveals lack of honesty with partners on previous sex lives

TAIPEI -- Thirty percent of young people in Taiwan do not reveal anything about their previous sex lives to their partners, or they tend to lie about the facts even when they open up, according to a survey conducted by the Formosa Cancer Foundation.

Foundation Executive Director Lai Kee-ming said the lack of communication could be dangerous because the human papilomavirus (HPV) is transmitted through sexual contact.

“If one is not aware of the sex history of one's partner, and that person has not engaged in safe sex, then it is easy to be exposed to the risks of contracting HPV,” Lai said.

The foundation's survey of 608 men and women between the age of 20 and 35 conducted in July was aimed at learning about respondents' awareness of HPV and their sex experience.

The results, released on Monday, showed that 30 percent of respondents have not told their partners how many others they have had sex with over the previous three years.

When they do open up, 40 percent said they would lie about the actual number of previous partners, lowering the number by one to three people.

The more sex partners a person has had, the more the likelihood of lying, the results showed. Among respondents who had more than five sex partners over the previous three years, 60 percent said they would give a lower number.

Lai said the lack of communication could be dangerous because HPV is transmitted through sexual contact.

“If one is not aware of the sex history of one's partner, and that person has not engaged in safe sex, then it is easy to be exposed to the risks of contracting HPV,” Lai said.

He cited a study in the United States showing that if one adds one sex partner within a year, the risk of contracting HPV will be two to three times higher than those who have no additional sex partners.

He also said that after repeated infections of the HPV, it could lead to precancerous lesions.

Urologist Lee Ying-Hui said there are still myths about contracting HPV, such as that using condoms can completely prevent HPV infection.

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