The Group Health Cooperative reports that HPV diagnosis is confusing and never entirely accurate. The report goes further to state "a number of women (and men) have probably been told they had HPV when in fact they did not." The link between cervical cancer and HPV is as sketchy as the STD's diagnosis; basing the possibility of cancer on an HPV diagnosis could either sound a false alarm or cast a false shadow over the more urgent of the two diseases.

No warning label will ever be scary enough to stop people from having sex, and information about making sex safer should not be hidden from young people. Dr. Tom Coburn should keep his politics separate from his own health practice and not endanger women who do not agree with him.

Garret Smith

Pit Stop

I read Robin Rothman's article on Woodstock '99 ["Politics of the Pit," November 9] and was completely appalled. As a human being, I can't believe that my gender was really that fucking sad. Not all of the bands that played at Woodstock are liable, but if you promote music calling women whores, sluts, and chickenheads, then you do bear some responsibility. I wonder if the perpetrators at Woodstock would think what happened there was cool if it had been their sister or mother getting groped. Rot in Hell, bastards.

Robert Primous

Free For All

In "Politics of the Pit," an article depicting the rough treatment of women at Woodstock '99, Robin Rothman wrote that "a majority had a fine time—a weekend of reckless abandon and open sexuality, no holds barred."

Doesn't Rothman see the contradiction in that sentence? We cannot preach open sexuality, no responsibility sex, and not expect events like those at Woodstock to happen.

Sharon Rusino
Baltimore, Maryland

Brooklyn Slights

I am glad that someone has finally decided to take action against greedy landlords in Lower Park Slope [J.A. Lobbia, Towers and Tenements, "Sign Language," November 23]. I wish there was some way a neighborhood's integrity and flavor could survive the rampant and extreme gentrification that has overtaken so many other formerly diverse New York neigborhoods.

In Brooklyn, where I live, mom-and-pop stores are closing, icky people with the lemming disease are flooding Seventh Avenue (above and below), gay people are being harassed, chichi stores open and close and open and close. Bye-bye diversity, hello homogeneity. For all the gentrification victims out there, I feel your pain. I really do.

Nina Gabel

Dr. Download

ConfiMed.com enjoyed Guy Trebay's "Harder Faster Longer" [November 2]. There are, however, certain statements made in the article, mostly concerning the medical establishment, that we wish to address.

Trebay writes that some hopeful Viagra users are "skipping the office visit and copping their Viagra the easy way, by clicking a mouse." At ConfiMed.com, our patients are required to fill out an extensive medical questionnaire and state that they have had a general physical exam within the last year.

In Trebay's article FDA commissioner Jane Henney says she is concerned patients using cyberconsultation risk greater side effects and that diseases will go undiagnosed. Potential side effects remain the same regardless of the origin of the medication. The physicians at ConfiMed.com routinely reject applications, advising the patient to consult their own doctor when potential health concerns are presented. Good medicine is more about paying attention to what a patient has to say than about where it is said. Meeting face-to-face does not guarantee a patient will be heard.

Eric F. Thom, Senior Vice President
ConfiMed.com, LLC
Seattle, Washington

Stretching It

Brava to Tristan Taormino [Pucker Up, "The Art of Anal Fisting," November 2]! It was so nice to see an article on fisting in print. Since my early twenties, one of the joys and guiding lights of my life as a gay man has been fisting. Even through the dark ages of the '80s, when all the old pros were cashing in their Crisco chips, fisting provided me with an avenue for personal exploration—of my own butthole and the buttholes of some of my best soulmates.

Even in the Age of Safer Sex with gloves and personal lubes, fisting, whether between two or in a group setting, is a wonderful way to "explore and test the farthest reaches of the mind's and body's inner limits." Thank you, Buttgirl.

Leonard Kovlak
San Francisco, California

Crystal Walters

Regarding "Online With the Divine" [November 16] by Barry Walters: Mr. Walters's salient exploration of two "post-Lilith clit-pop" icons is eminently compelling and cogent. I couldn't agree more. I find both Tori Amos and Fiona Apple ideologically elitist and musically vacant. Excellent review.

Mike Kohn


On December 7 at 6 p.m. the Washington Square Association will hold its annual tree-lighting ceremony in Washington Square Park. Santa Claus, accompanied by the NYU Brass Ensemble, will lead the crowd in holiday songs. At 6:45 p.m. there will be a short parade through the park and into NYU's Frederick Loewe Theater at 35 West 4th Street. Seating is first come, first served, and refreshments will be provided. This event is open to the public and free of charge.

Letters should be brief, and phone numbers must be included. All letters are subject to editing for clarity, legal, and space considerations. editor@villagevoice.com.

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