[Question #3053] High Risk HPV Transmission

38 months ago

Dear Dr. Hunter Handsfield,

I have had a couple of risky exposures in the last few months. Please let me know my risk of getting high risk HPV (cancer causing HPV) from these exposures.

Exposure 1: I visited a sex worker. We had genital rubbing without condom. My penis head rubbed against her vulva and/or clitoris (without penetration). What are my chances of getting high risk HPV from this exposure?

Exposure 2: I performed oral sex on a sex worker. After 40 days, she got her cervical swab test done and tested negative for high risk HPV and HPV 6, 11. What are my chances of getting high risk HPV from this exposure?

Please advise.

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
38 months ago
Welcome to our Forum.  Dr. Handsfield and I answer questions interchangeably and by chance I happened to pick up your questions.  FYI, We have worked together for over 30 years and while our verbal styles differ, we never disagree on our advice to clients.

We do our bet to provide science-based replies to questions using information we have gained through years of reading the scientific literature, attending scientific meetings, reading journals and our and our colleagues experience in practice.  There are no scientific data to help answer your question.  It is known that the majority of single exposures to persons with STI infections, including HPV, do not acquire the infection and that repeated exposures make infection more likely.  It is also known that HPV is widespread and the conservatively over 80% of sexually active adults will acquire HPV.  Despite this high rate, substantially less than  1% of persons who become infected suffer any meaningful consequences from their infection.  Further, persistent infection and complications are less common in men than women.  Also, oral infections are less common than genital infections.  The fat that your partners were CSWs is not known to meaningful change your risk for infection and you our risk would be similar following sex with almost any other sexually active person. 

Exposure 1 is an exposure in which HPV could be transmitted from an infected partner to you.  As for getting oral HPV from exposure 2, the risk is lower than for the genital exposure described in exposure 1 but still possible. 

Based on the information above, my advice is to not worry about these exposures - there is not much you can do about the past.  There are no recommended tests for HPV in men and your risk for infection is small.  Were you infected, your infection would likely clear on its own, without therapy and without complications.  Going forward, if you continue to worry about HPV (I would not be worried), condoms will reduce your risk for infection substantially.

I hope this information is helpful.  EWH
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38 months ago

Thanks for the reply. I have the following follow up questions. Request you to please reply.

In exposure 2, after I performed oral sex on the girl, the girl got tested negative for high risk HPVs after 40 days. Is there still risk for me getting oral HPV from this exposure?

If I have HPV, can I pass it to my child accidentally by hand to genital contact while bathing him?

If I have oral HPV, can I pass it to my child through contaminated food, utensils, straw, etc?

Thanks in advance.

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
38 months ago
Your first question is repetitive and repeating the question will not change the answer.  This was very low risk for HPV.  Please re-read my original response.

HPV is not transmitted either through touching (hand to genital contact) while bathing or by sharing eating utensils or straws.  EWH
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38 months ago
Thanks for your prompt reply. I have just one last question. I have read somewhere that it is not clear how oral HPV infection takes place. Is it possible that a person who has genital HPV can pass the infection to his own mouth/throat through hand to mouth contact?
38 months ago
One more question. I am 40 years old. Will I be able to fight off the infection just like a young person would do or am I at an increased risk of developing cancer because of weak immune system?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
38 months ago
 There are no data to suggest that persons transmit HPV from one part of their body to another on their hands or through other mechanisms.   I would not worry about transmitting HPV, in the unlikely event that you acquired it, through hand to mouth transfer. 

 In my opinion you are worrying too much about the consequences of HPV following your low risk exposure us. There is no evidence that you have it.  In the unlikely event that you acquired HPV as described, there is no evidence that you are at particularly increased risk for developing cancer. 

 As per foreign guidelines, this will be my final reply to your series of questions. Before closing the thread I should remind you that repetitive, anxiety driven questions of the sort that you have been asking I'm not permitted and should you open new questions there is a likelihood  that the thread will be closed without a response and without return of your funds.  Please don't worry.  EWH
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