[Question #1948] HPB/HPV Infection/Transmission

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84 months ago
I was at what I would consider a high risk public place for potential HPB/HPV fluids,a gay bar where I know of people who have sex had and then come back in and also where drugs are sold .  Would potential infection be a higher risk if potentially fluids got on your hands from cups or clothing, I went and came home and went to bed..but have no idea what I may have touched in the house or in my car.  Bleaching everything seems obsessive.  Then I read an article on HPV and how hard it is to kill (https://academic.oup.com/jac/article/69/6/1546/831861/Susceptibility-of-high-risk-human-papillomavirus#xref-corresp-1-1)..My question is the risk factors and how does one potential get infected.
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H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
84 months ago
Welcome back to the forum.

This is the third time you have asked about or expressed concern about non-intimate exposures and concerns about hepatitis B virus (HBV) and human papillomavirus (HPV) transmission. In both other questions, Dr. Hook assured you there is no appreciable risk from these sorts of contact. Nobody catches either of these viruses by contact with them in a contaminated environment. Probably there is not enough surviving virus to allow transmission by contact of your hands etc with contaminated surfaces, towels, toilets, etc. What we know for sure is that in even the busiest clinics serving people with STDs, infectious diseases, hepatitis, and dermatology practices, there are NEVER any patients with hepatitis B or HPV who did not have sexual exposure or, for HBV, substantial blood exposure, e.g. shared drug injection equipment. That alone tells you that there are no cases acquired from things like you ask about, shaking hands, or other non-intimate contacts with infected people.

As for the reference cited about disinfectants and HPV, that only means the virus may exist in the environment. That doesn't necessarily mean it is transmissible through such contact. Obviously it is not.

In addition, all this applies to all STDs and blood borne infections. The answers would be the same for HIV, hepatitis C, herpes, and any other that might come to mind. The way to avoid all these infections is by having only safe sex with uninfected partners and not sharing drug injection equipment with other people. Follow these rules and otherwise don't worry about it!

Please note the forum does not permit repeated questions on the same topic or exposure. This will have to be your last one; future new questions along these lines will be deleted without reply and without refund of the posting fee. This policy is based on compassion, not criticism, and is designed to reduce temptations to keep paying for questions with obvious answers; because experience shows that continued answers tend to prolong users' anxieties; and because such questions have little educational value for other users, one of the forum's main purposes. I trust you will understand.

But do let me know if anything isn't clear about my reply above.

HHH, MD

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