[Question #5349] HPV Concern

23 months ago

I am a male with a extremely low risk sexual lifestyle. My long-time partner (female) and I have only been with each other our entire lives. Last week I made an unfortunately decision and had a one-time encounter with another woman. We kissed for a long period of time and there was hand-to-genital touching (mainly me touching her) as well as brief oral sex (both ways) before smartening up an ending the situation. There was no vaginal or anal sex of any kind.

The next day, this woman told me she had been recently told by a doctor that she has HPV. This was a surprise to her as she never had signs (which I know is common) and believes she contracted it from a partner she had vaginal sex with a few months back.

My question is, based on the exposure I mentioned in the incident above and the fact the woman in this encounter is infected with HPV, what are the odds I too have been infected, either orally (giving oral sex to her) or genitally (her giving oral sex to me or through touching with hands)? It seems like there are no tests for males and HPV but I am assessing the decision to ask my partner to get tested for HPV.

My guilt in this matter has lead to sleepless nights and online research, which is yielding very concerning results. However, I wanted the opinion of experts in the matter. Any thoughts would help. Thank you.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
23 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your confidence in our services.

As you may know, 90% of all sexually active people acquire genital HPV at least once, and many of those carry the virus for months or years afterward; at any point in time, 40-60% of sexually active people have genital HPV detectable by DNA testing. However, HPV is not transmitted by hand-genital contact, and uncommonly by oral sex, so this was a very low risk exposure, even with a partner known to be infected. You definitely should not be for HPV on account of this event, and neither should your regular partner. Even if somehow you were to have been infected, there would be no need for your partner to be tested-- except that all women should follow guidelines for pap smear testing, which nowadays always includes routine HPV testing. Even if your partner shows up with an abnormal pap smear and/or HPV someday, it will not be from your recent sexual event. And even if your regular partner caught HPV, it would not show up in testing for at least a few months and maybe not until more than a year has passed.

So all is well! You really needn't be at all worried about this event.

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