[Question #4048] Possible HPV

30 months ago
Hello, I visited my gyno and I don't think they cleaned the room very good. There was a dirty procedure pad with blood and betadine on it on the tray table. I accidentally touched it,  and now I'm fine with that. I'm just wondering if the paper I sat on with my bare genitals could have came into contact with anything on the table?  If a lady was sitting in the same spot with an infection of some kind...HPV. herpes?   Am I at risk from a fomite transfer???? Feeling unlucky! Thanks.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
30 months ago
Welcome back to the forum. but I'm sorry you found it necessary. Unfortunately, we can't help any further. Dr. Hook answered these questions in detail 3 weeks ago and there isn't anything to add. Nobody has ever been known to catch HPV or any other STDs because of poor hygiene in a doctor's office. You are not at risk from this and shouldn't be worried about it.

Best wishes--  HHH, MD

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30 months ago
I'm not worried about touching the pad.My new question is from sitting on the exam table with the white paper. If it wasn't pulled after the patient before me.  If I sat on something and my genitals touched the paper where someone with warts sat?  I appreciate your answers that's all I wanted to know.  Sitting in something naked is different from touching something with your hand. Especially since my genitals were burned from too hot water. Does that make a difference? Thank you guys for your time! 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
30 months ago
The detail of contacting exam table paper is unimportant. The point is that nobody ever gets HPV from any kind of contact with the environment, in a doctor's office or anywhere else. For example, contact with toilet seats also is not a risk. And in fact "sitting on something" is no higher risk than hand-genital contact, perhaps even lower (with both being zero for practical purposes.) The only way to catch HPV in a doctor's office or exam room is to have sex there with an infected person.

Of course you could have HPV, assuming you have ever had sex. The large majority of sexually active people, even those who are monogamous with a single partner, get genital HPV, often several times. Therefore, someday you could have an abnormal pap smear, for example. But if that happens, it will not be from an infection caught from a medical examination or in a medical setting of any kind.

You fears are entirely misplaced. Do you have OCD? Are you germophobic? This level of fear about such things can be an early sign of serious mental health disability. I raise this issue out of compassion, not criticism. But if such fears, or other contacts with people or objects in the environment make you fearful of infection, and it's interfering with life, happiness, and relationships, I hope you'll consider counseling. But in the meantime, take Dr. Hook's and my word for it:  you are at absolutely no risk of HPV from being examined or treated in a professional office.
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