[Question #2468] HPV Transmission

45 months ago
I need to preface this by saying I am a worrier but I need to know if my worries are legitimate.
 I have an active genital wart infection that I am treating with a RX.

Is it possible to transmit  this virus to my  toddler when  applying  diaper rash cream or changing diaper? 

I am usually careful about washing my hands but I don't think I did last night.  My child has had a stomach virus and a diaper rash on the private area from the diarrhea and I applied diaper cream. 

Assuming I had the genital wart virus on my hands and touched  my child's private area when changing the pull up, or applying cream, is it possible to spread HPV this way? 

I am worried sick about it. 

I'm sure I touched without the cream barrier as I used one hand to position my child and the other to apply cream.

I read on a Kids health website that it can be transmitted by hands if the virus is on the hand. Which I'm sure it was considering I have an active case.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
45 months ago
Welcome to our Forum.  I will try to help.  Being a worrier and having HPV is a bad combination.  Consequently my best and first advice is for you to stay off of the internet regarding your situation. While the internet is a great place for communication, it is a terrible place to seek medical information of any sort- statements are unfiltered, often misinterpreting or taking data out of context and at other times simply being wrong.  Let me also congratulate you on your thoughtful concern for your child.  With those statements, let me now try to help.

Admittedly we are still learning about genital wart infections and existing data suggest that a VERY small proportion of HPV infections are transmitted without direct genital-to-genital contact.  The proportion of HPV infections transmitted in this way is tiny and almost certainly far less than 1%.  There are no scientific data to suggest that person to person transmission of the hands is a meaningful means of transmission.  I would challenge your assumption that you might have had HPV virus on your hands as well that, if you did, it might be transmitted to your child during application of diaper cream or diaper changes.  Your genital warts are, on your genitals, they are being treated and therefore their infectivity is decreased, and you have clothing between your genitals.  All of these things make transmission of infection to your child most improbable.   

My sincere and earnest advice is not to worry about the possibility of transmitting your infection to your child.  It is not a recognized or even theoretically likely event.

I hope my comments and perspectives are helpful. As a parent I know how much we worry about the children that are our responsibility but he concerns you mention are simply not something to worry about.  EWH
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45 months ago
Thank you Dr. Hook for your help. When I read on the internet about HPV, it makes it seem likely that it is transferred quite easily through caregiving. I've worried myself sick all day. 

May I ask  two quick follow-up questions? I'm sorry, I have an anxiety DO anyway and I tend to think too hard.

 1) If I DID have the genital hpv virus on my hand is the chance still very, very small -assuming the virus got on my child's private area when applying the ointment- that I could have passed it on?

2) Could my child get it through washing my clothes with her clothes?

I'm sorry to take your time. I just don't want to accidently pass anything to my child.

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
45 months ago
Please don't apologize for asking questions. that is what we are here for.  With regard to your continuing questions:

1) If I DID have the genital hpv virus on my hand is the chance still very, very small -assuming the virus got on my child's private area when applying the ointment- that I could have passed it on?
Correct, the chance is small- very small.  I cannot say there is zero chance, just I cannot say that there is no chance you will not be struck by lightening today but the chance is very, very small

2) Could my child get it through washing my clothes with her clothes?
No, this is not a concern.

EWH
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44 months ago

Dr. Hook. I am so sorry for taking your time.  And please don't think I am nuts! I am just very worried.

It is so hard to have HPV, be a worrier, and have a young child without worrying about transferring it. Can you answer one more question please? I am embarrassed to even ask this but I cannot stop worrying about it.

 I am potty training my daughter and she had dried toilet paper stuck to her front private area.  I had to pick the toilet paper off her as it was stuck to her. My fingers made direct contact with her skin down there as I had to peel the toilet paper off. I did not even think about washing my hands at the time even with all the worries I have had about transmission.

I am sure my hands had contacted my genital warts earlier in the day as I have been checking to see if they are going away. Sometimes I am in such a rush I forget to wash my hands.

I am so scared to do anything to transfer the HPV; could this have given her the virus? Please be frank.



Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
44 months ago
I'm sorry you continue to worry about whether your HPV infection puts your daughter at risk.  It does not.  HPV is not transmitted from person to person, directly OR indirectly, on one person's hands.  There is NO risk to your daughter from the events you describe.  None!

This is my 3rd response to your questions.  As per Forum guidelines, this thread will be closed in a few hours.  Take care and please try not to worry.  EWH
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