[Question #3963] HPV Transmission

31 months ago

Hello Doctors,

I have a question regarding HPV transmission. I know HPV is transmitted by skin to skin contact. However, I am still confused. I have a friend who I continue to have unprotected sex with. She recently received her results for her pap smear. The results came back positive for HPV. The doctor further examined her and confirmed that she had lesions on her cervix. She will be receiving treatment soon.

I have heard of warts/lesions appearing on the vulva, vagina, and cervix. However, I am confused to how the lesions appear on these regions. My question here is whether the infected penis must come in direct contact with the cervix to cause these lesions specifically to the cervix? Or if these lesions can still appear on the cervix by the penis simply entering the vagina without entering or hitting the cervix?

Thank You

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
31 months ago
I am not sure of the basis of your question.  Our current concept of HPV transmission is that infection is transmitted through direct contact between an infected site and an un-infected site.  The infection is typically not transmitted indirectly, either through transfer of virus indirectly on a person's hands or indirectly through contract with infected surfaces or instruments. 

If you wish to be more specific in your question or provide more details, I will be happy to comment further.  EWH
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31 months ago
Hello Doctor,

So let me try to clarify it, because I understand that my question is confusing. Let's say I have a high risk strain of HPV and I have unprotected sex with a woman who does not have HPV. Chances are that I have passed the virus to her. But if my penis does not come in contact with her cervix will she not develop lesions on her cervix? From my understanding, the cervix is about 5-6 inches inside the vagina. My assumption is, if my penis isn't long enough or if I do not thrust hard enough I would not come in contact with the cervix and she would not develop warts/lesions on her cervix. My thought is she may be likely to develop lesions or warts in her vaginal canal or vulva if my penis comes in contact with only the vagina or vulva, but not her cervix if I do not come in contact with it her cervix. Is this assumption right?  
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
31 months ago
You are asking questions about which there are no scientific data.  During intercourse, the average erect penis is more than 5 inches in length.  In most women the cervix is within 4-5 inches of the entrance to the vagina.   As the penis moves within the vagina it is likely to come into direct contact with the cervix, the walls of the vagina and the external genitalia.  The cervix is highly susceptible to infection.

I hope this information is helpful.  If not, you are permitted one additional follow-up question.  EWH
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