[Question #3139] Hpv and soap sharing

40 months ago
Good afternoon,

I’ve posted a previous question regarding concerns of passing genital warts to my children through non-sexual tranmission and appreciate your answers and advice.

Today I was posed with another question and my anxiety is getting the best of me.

We use bar soap in our shower which I use daily. When I came home today, my older sons toys were in our shower and I asked him if he used our soap. He answered that he did causing my fears to go into overdrive.

Would it be possible to spread genital warts to him through sharing a bar of soap? 

I’ve read conflicting statements on bar soap and if a virus can live on it or if it would kill the virus. It was also some homemade soap my wife got from a boutique store, so I question the ingredients that may have been used..

Thanks in advance for your expert advice.
40 months ago
Has a response been provided on this? It now says updated 3 minutes ago, but no answer shows.

Thank you
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
40 months ago
Welcome back to the forum. But I'm sorry you find it necessary after the reasoned, science based reassurance three weeks ago from Dr. Hook.

The answers to these questions really are clear from his comments. Beyond the reasons for low risk he gave, such as microbiological dilution, I will add that soap is highy lethal against most viruses, including HPV. But more important, I would urge you to simply focus on the fact that children of people with genital HPV never show up with their own HPV infections caused by the genital HPV types, despite years of sharing toilets, kitchens, and often beds with infected parents. The biological reasons really don't matter:  it just doesn't happen. 

I would further encourage you to stop searching online about these issues. Like many anxious persons, it is likely you are being drawn to information that inflames your fears and missing things that would be reassuring. The statistician Nate Silver [http://fivethirtyeight.com] wrote an excellent book about statistics in the news called "The Signal and the Noise", in which he wrote something like "Give an anxious person a computer with an internet connection and soon he'll believe is cold is the bubonic plague." It just isn't worth the stress it's causing you. Do your best to move on without worry about your kids' health because of your past HPV infection -- or for that matter, about your wife's or your own health.

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

HHH, MD

---
40 months ago
Thank you Dr.

I appreciate the response and advice. I believe you’re correct in that I tend to find one or two articles that fuel my anxiety rather than to focus on the sound ones on reputable sites that are reassuring.

There are so many conflicting things online, as well as some that are just downright wrong that it’s hard to sort between them. That-paired with the different opinions of even reputable sources and doctors on hpv and it’s transmission  methods just raise a lot of questions to someone that has had this virus.

I didn’t even consider dr hooks last response in this situation, but after reviewing both your answers, I see how the dilution would apply here as well. 

I try my best not to worry about these things, but the thought of passing this to my kids will likely always be a fear in the back of my mind even if I know better...

Thank you for providing some comfort in your response. It’s nice to have a reputable source to turn to for these types of questions.


H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
40 months ago
Thanks for the thanks. I'm glad to have helped. Going forward, just believe the simple fact that at any point in time, over 90% of people acquire genital HPV at least once and at any point in time up 30-50% of adults have active infections. In other words, at least half of all parents are in exactly your situation. The vast majority don't worry about this, take no precautions to protect their kids, and yet none of their kids ever show up with warts due to genital HPV types (assuming no sexual abuse). Your kids all will get HPV someday, when they become sexually active (and they should be vaccinated against HPV before that, typically done around age 9-12 to be sure they've been immunized before first sex). But until then they are not at risk on account of your past infection.

I hope this information helps raise your prospects for a very happy new year! I hope it's a good one for you.

---