[Question #3031] Transmission fears to my children

40 months ago
I want to start by thanking the experts for all your advice.

I've read almost every question posted on HPV, but I still have some fears/concerns/questions. 

I was diagnosed with HPV (a few EGW's appeared) 5 years ago. I treated them with Aldera and they went away pretty quickly. I'm a worrier and have a little OCD, so I don't think I've had any more show up since, but every time the slightest bump appears, I see my derm and we just freeze them. He doesn't think that any of the bumps I've noticed have actually been EGW's. 

That being said, I can't stop worrying (almost obsessively) about the chance that I could somehow pass this to my children and I'm looking for a little reassurance. I continue to read conflicting statements online about passing through objects, towels, hands, etc.  The general consensus seems to be that it can't be passed through towels, toilets or inanimate objects. 
My bigger fear is the thought of passing this through my hands. I'm a typical parent with small children. We potty train, they get rashes, etc. I've touched their genitals when applying cream, or simply when looking at a rash that has formed and while I'm usually obsessive about washing my hands, there are times when I'm going a mile a minute and forget. I keep reading that HPV can be passed from fomites on my hands and it's killing me to think this could be possible. 
The fact that there's really no way of knowing if i passed this unless a wart appears just fuels my worry.  My wife is fed up with my constant worry and tries to reassure me that they can't get this from us, but my fears continue to persist.
I know I've seen a few similar posts where Dr. Hook advised another user that there's no way to say with 100% certainty that this can't happen, but the chances are miniscule.I guess I'm just looking for some reassurance that this worrying is unnecessary and that I can't pass HPV this way.

Thanks in advance, 

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
40 months ago
Thank you for your question.  Thanks as well for reviewing some of our interactions with other clients- our intent is for the information provided to be useful to others.  Regarding risk of passing infection on on your hands, if infection were present, in microbiology there is a phenomenon called transfer-related dilution which describes the fact that each time material is transferred from one site to another (for example, from your genital to your hands and then on to another person would be two dilutions), each dilution step tends to dramatically reduce the numbers of organisms passed on.  Thus, even if you did have HPV (more on that below), there would be little chance of you transferring enough HPV on to your children to infect them.  There is much clinical experience that indicates that HPV in not transferred in the way you describe, as fomites.

Second, it appears to me that you have an unhealthy fear of HPV.  Please remember that only a fraction of 1% of HPV goes on to caused the sequelae and complications which make these viruses important (i.e. cancer and pre-cancerous lesions).  Repeated treatments if the sort you describe are uncomfortable, potentially costly, time consuming and probably not needed.  I would urge you to do your best to avoid "just in case" treatments.

Finally, as your children get towards age 9, please have them vaccinated.  this will virtually eliminate their risk for the most common HPV types which are found in the vaccine.

I hope these comments are helpful.  EWH
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40 months ago
Thank You Dr. Hook. 

Part of me knows in the back of my  mind that my fears are unnecessary, but when you're talking about your children, it's just hard not to worry.

So bottom line... I don't need to worry about passing this to my children from my hands or my environment as the chances are very, very slim. 

I'm sorry to ask a question that's already been answered, I'm just trying to put my mind at ease and get on with my life and I guess I'm just looking for a direct - No, this is not possible..

I've read a post of yours where you previously stated that HPV is not transmitted from person to person, directly or indirectly on one person's hands. I guess I'm just looking to make sure you still agree with that message.

Thank you again for your help.

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
40 months ago
I do agree with your summary.  Put another way, I see no medical reason for you to worry about passing HPV from you to your children as a result of touching them with your hands.  EWH
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40 months ago
 Thank you Dr. Hook.

To clarify – five years ago my dermatologist did diagnosed me with having genital warts and we treated them. It’s all the additional bumps that I have found sense that he does not think have been a recurrence. I don’t think this changes your answer and he just wanted to be clear.

On an unrelated/related question – I recently had a few bumps appear On the cheek of my buttocks. They are likely just ingrown hairs or acne but want to ask if it is even possible for a general wart to appear on that type of skin, or would it need to be around the actual anus/mucosal skin?  These are actually on the cheek not anywhere near the anus. 

I realize you cannot give a diagnosis online but thought this was a fairly general question that you might be able to answer

Thank you again for all your help
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
40 months ago
Thanks for your clarification.  The circumstance you describe is what I had assumed happened.  No change to my assessment or advice.  I would avoid further lesion freezing.

As for your other question, what you describe sounds largely like folliculitis which occur commonly on the buttocks.  I do not think I have ever seen a typical genital wart on the buttocks as you describe.

I hope my comments have been helpful.  As per Forum guidelines, this thread will be closed later today.  Take care.  EWH
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