[Question #6579] HPV Cross infection

15 months ago
I went to see a doctor yesterday for a tiny bump on my penis. I had been diagnosed with genital warts 5 months ago and treated for them. The bump was very tiny, but I could still see it, especially with a magnifying app on my phone. My doctor checked it and said it might not be a wart, but I told him that it was growing exactly where I had had one. He slightly touched it to examine it. Then he grabbed a bottle of nitrogen and proceeded to freeze it off. Then, I also told him that my anus had been itching and that I wanted him to examine me to see if I had warts there. I stood up, bent over a little and spread my buttocks with my hands. I could feel him examining my anal area like for 1 a minute or more, and then said that he noticed nothing abnormal on my anus. I noticed that he did not change gloves and with the same gloves he touched my penis he also touched my anus. What are the chances of cross infection? I am scared that my anus gets infected from any viral infection on my penis. I have been reading a lot on cross infection with HPV and I feel overwhelmed and scared about this. Should I talk to the doctor? I had always been careful not to touch my anus with the same hand I touched my penis. Another doctor suggested that I apply Aldara on my anus once a week for 3 months. Is this ok?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
15 months ago

Welcome to our Forum.  I'll be glad to comment.  My sense is that in your "...reading a lot on cross infection..." you have been searching the internet for information.  Unfortunately, the internet is not a reliable source of information on STIs- much of what is there is taken out of context, overstatement, out of date or simply incorrect.  The fact is that HPV is very rarely transmitted through the transfer of virus from one place to another on a persons hands.  While it might occur very, very rarely , as a role it is quite rare.  Otherwise persons with warts would be covered with them and never get rid of them.

I should add, you do not even know (and will never since the tissue has been destroyed by liquid nitrogen) that the lesions you described were HPV.  Further, given the inflammation and irritation associated with Aldara, I would not advise the periodic application of drug "just in case".  There are no solid scientific data to suggest that this is an effective preventative strategy.

My sincere advice is to not worry, to stay off the internet and to move forward without concern.  EWH

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