[Question #2573] I think I know but....

46 months ago
I have read some of the forums other chains and think they answer my question, but you never know.

A few weeks ago I got a massage.  It seemed fine. But before it ended I ended up with what I assume is vaginal fluid on my hand.  There was no insertion or penetration of any kind whatsoever.

I wiped my hand off with a wet towel.  15 minutes later liberally used hand sanitizer .

The concern comes in 30 minutes later when I picked my nose absent mindedly.

So my questions:

1) what is the likelihood of an std infecting the nasal cavity this way?
2) if it does can it spread from the nose to throat and /or genitals in its own?
3) would hip pain be a symptom?

Thank you for your attention.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
46 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question, and for reviewing other questions similar to your own.

As you probably have seen in other similar discussions, STDs are rarely if ever transmitted by hand-genital contact, even when genital fluids are used for lubrication. It is easy to understand why this seems to be risky, and nobody can say the risk is truly zero. But the fact is that even the busiest STD clinics simply don't see any infected patients whose only potential contact was mutual masturbation, fingering, etc. Given the extemely high frequency of such events among sexually active people, the absence of such cases indicates that the risk is trivial if it exists at all. The biological reasons for low risk are related to the inherent inefficiency of transmission of the STDs:  that's why they're sexually transmitted to begin with.

If there is no observable direct hand to genital transmission, any potential self-inoculation of other body sites is even less likely. If you think it through, you'll realize that among the billions of exposures like yours, millions must also have involved inadvertant hand contact with the mouth, nose, eyes, etc after touching the genital area -- but we never see patients with STDs at those sites unless they were directly exposed. That is, no nasal or oral gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, etc without the oral cavity being directly exposed to an infected partner.

Explicit replies to your questions:

1) Zero risk or close to it. In my 40+ years in the STD business, I have never seen or heard of such a case.

2) "On its own" seems to mean without hands or fingers transferring the infection. No, that doesn't happen. STDs don't travel through the body to new sites. For example, someone whose oral cavity is exposed by oral sex will never get genital infection; or vice versa.

3) No STD is likely to cause hip pain.

Bottom line:  No testing is needed after such an exposure; and if you have a regular partner, you can safely continue any and all your normal sexual practices with that person.

I hope these comments are helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear. Best wishes---