[Question #1202] Further clarification please.

48 months ago
I have posted before but would like some clarification as i have some questions relevant to my situation. I respect both experts.
1. In some replies,it has been said that HPV has to be "massaged into the skin".  I only saw one definitely identified wart,20 months ago.  Prior to that the only contacts id had anywhere near that had been a few occasions where i fingered a woman,not my partner,and then VIGOROUSLY masturbated.  Would that be enough to transmit HPV if she had it?
2. In another reply to another person it was said the older a person was,the less likely were they to contract warts. Could the expert say more on this/ My partner  HAS had other partners,but only one on a long term basis. We have only recently resumed unprotected sex after many months of abstinence. In both cases,other than my fingering incidents,other partners were MANY years ago. We are both in our 60s. 
3. On possibly 3 occasions since the wart 20 months ago,I have visited the GUM clinic and they didn't seem altogether sure,saying things like "it could be a wart" but freezing it off anyway. The last time was 4 months ago. On NO occasion did they look anything like the original wart. What IM saying I have no way of knowing I have cleared the virus. How likely is this and would my age mean it would take longer?
4. On the other hand it was said in one reply that the older a person is the less likely to catch the virus. Has this actually been proved and could you please clarify a bit further.  Respectful thanks.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
48 months ago

Welcome back to the Forum.  This time I happened to pull your question.  Having said that, I did just go back and review all of your interactions over the past year with both Dr. Handsfield and me.  Straight to your questions:

1.  The issue of "massaging" HPV into the skin comes from work with experimental work which shows that HPV acquisition is more common after friction has disrupted the epithelial surface of the skin.  Thus vigorous masturbation indeed might be sufficient friction to enhance HPV transmission.  Having said that, I would still emphasize and agree with the earlier statement (this one by Dr. Handsfield I believe) that acquisition of warts due to mutual masturbation is incredibly rare.

2.  The natural history of HPV infections is that the body does tend to eliminate/control infections over time.  The empirical evidence is that few HPV infections are seen in persons of your age.  On the other hand, there are numerous other, age-related skin changes which can mimic warts including skin tags. 

3.  My advice, as we have said before, is that you DO NOT know that your later lesions, or for for that matter, even the original ones were warts.  If they were, you should appreciate that they have virtually NO serious long terms consequences and are sot something to be worried about.  In my opinion, you are worrying about this far more than is warranted for medical reasons.

4.  The observation is that warts are less common in older persons.  this reflects both behavioral changes that tend to occur with age as well as the fact that with older partners, one is less likely to have sexual partners (who also tend to be somewhat older) who have HPV.

I hope these comments are helpful. At this point, after a year of worrying about this, my strong recommendation is to put these concerns aside and move forward without concern.  EWH

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48 months ago
Dr Hook
Thanks. I appreciate it. As you can probably tell,my concern is for my partner. She knows about the warts but obviously I don't want her to get them. 
I know I have been getting paranoid about this and will address it. I have visions of horrific warts,though mine,whether real or not were as you say really of no consequence. My first reaction on seeing the first lesion was shame,so i went to a private company and had it swabbed. It came back negative but my GP referred me to the GP clinic,which was pretty sure it was a wart. I made numerous calls to the private company and they assured me their testing,and results,were bona fide. They test for other STDs also. So I am a little confused,especially as the masturbation incidents are the only contacts Ive had except my partner in many years. I also know for a solid fact she hasn't. 
Its now 4 months since i saw anything so Im hoping the virus has gone dormant. I would appreciate any other comments/observations from yourself.  I also thank you once again for your kindness and expertise. And I WILL try to put it aside.  This will be my last post. Thanks Dr Hook.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
48 months ago

Let's review this:

1.  You fear you might have gotten warts from masturbation, a statistically and biologically VERY rare event

2.  You were tested by a reputable company who have told you that your tests for HPV were negative

3.  Whatever lesion you had was treated "just in case" and since that time you have not noted any recurrence over a time period during which if recurrence were to occur, it would have..

Despite this, you continue to worry and hypothesize about "dormant" virus out of concern for your partner.  If you are wrong, the worst possible (and unlikely) thing that happen is that she could develop a medically innocuous lesion which is readily managed if she is bothered by it (many patients simply choose not to worry about warts).   It is time to put your fears of warts and possible recurrence aside.  This may not help with what seems to be the primary problem which sounds as though it may be guilt and shame.  To work through this you may benefit from talking this through with a counselor.

I wish you the best.  EWH

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48 months ago
Dr Hook. Not surprisingly,you are right. Thanks very much. I DO feel better about this.