[Question #5181] Additional questions - a little confused

23 months ago
Good Evening,

Thank you so much for relieving some of my anxiety/reducing stress as I am dealing with a new diagnosis of HPV and trying to take the best/proper precautions to especially ensure the health of my children.

I recently asked a question regarding transmission concerns and have additional questions pertaining to the answers I received from them. I was told in one of the answers that HPV DNA is found on the hands/fingernails and requires massaging it into the tissues for infection to occur. I am concerned now because in the shower/bath time sometimes I help them wash their genitals since they're still small, would the act of scrubbing/washing my childrens genitals with my hands put them at potential risk?

Thank you again 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
23 months ago
I'm glad my comments so far have been helpful. However, this question also has already been answered. We don't expect much of questioners, but we do expect you to read our replies and to not ask questions already answered!  See my reply to question 2 in my first reply in your other thread:  "It is true that HPV DNA often can be identified under the fingernails of infected persons. But that doesn't mean it can be transmitted from those sites. It cannot -- or if it happens, it is so rare that it can be ignored."

Please do your best to believe what I said in your other thread. And also try to think logically:  Up to half of all mothers of young children (HALF!) have genital HPV, just as you do. Have you ever heard of a child who acquired HPV in the household?  

I know this whole thing has been something of a shock to you. I'm trying to help, and have tried hard to reassure you with science-based advice, but you keep ignoring it. Really, mellow out. If you have still more questions, please carefully re-read the responses in the other thread and avoid asking if already answered. Also read the websites suggested there. Then if you still have questions, and only then, you can ask. Any others will be deleted without reply.

HHH, MD
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22 months ago
I've been reading the forums over and ran into this quote by you and would like some clarification:

"So it is likely that oral HPV often (usually?) is acquired by less direct exposure, such as auto-transfer from one's own genital infection, and perhaps because sexual fluids get spread around quite a bit and can easly get into the oral cavity without oral sex. (Sex is inherently sloppy, right?)"

Is this saying that bodily  fluid in the mouth/oral cavity causes oral HPV infections?
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
22 months ago
That statement isn't very artful -- I can see how it isn't clear. I'll try to explain better.

Oral HPV isn't rare, but it's a lot less common than genital infection. It can be acquired by oral sex, but that does not account for all cases. Therefore, some oral infections much be acquired by other mechanisms. Exactly how these occur is not known, but it is logical to suspect that some of them come from auto-inoculation, i.e. self transfer of genital HPV to the oral cavity on hands. The "sex is sloppy" comment refers to the possibility that oral exposure to a partner's genital fluids in the course of having sex -- without direct oral sex -- could explain some cases.

When oral HPV is present, usually it causes no symptoms and probably is infrequently transmitted to sex partners. We know this because it is rare to see genital HPV in people whose only exposure was receiving oral sex.

I hope these comments help you move along without so much worry. Deal with the immediate health issues of your HPV, i.e. follow your doctor's advice about follow-up and perhaps treatment she might recommend for your abnormal pap smear. But please stop worrying about when and where you caught it (you'll never know!) or transmission to your sex partner(s) (very low chance and it won't matter if it happens!). 

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22 months ago
I'm confused now because I thought hand to genital was not a risk? If not through sex, then what means would auto-innoculation occur/take place? I was told spread of infection only will occur through sex.

I was also told to not worry about my room mate ingesting water with semen I spat in it, does this logic not apply here?

Thank you in advance for clearing up any confusion I may have.

H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
22 months ago
I said nothing about hand to genital transmission. Your question above asked about oral infection with HPV, which I explained. It remains true that hand to genital HPV transmission is rare, if it occurs at all. And no, the comments above are not relevant to risks to your roommate. She is not at risk. Non-sexual contact with other persons does not transmit HPV.

It seems obvious you are having difficulty understanding my several replies in two threads. Unfortunately, I cannot explain things more clearly than I have. If you still don't quite get it, all I can suggest is that you re-read all my comments carefully, and perhaps discuss them with your own doctor, or maybe with a friend you trust. But no more on this forum, please.

That concludes the two follow-up comments and replies included with each question and so ends this thread. Please note that the forum does not permit repeated questions on the same topic or exposure. This will have to be your last one; future new questions about your HPV infection and transmission of HPV may receive no reply and the posting fee will not be refunded. This policy is based on compassion, not criticism, and is intended to reduce temptations to keep paying for questions with obvious answers. In addition, experience shows that continued answers tend to prolong users' anxieties rather than reducing them. Finally, such questions have little educational value for other users, one of the forum's main purposes. Thanks for your understanding. 


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