[Question #682] HPV 16 and Baby

46 months ago
Hello,

I am a new mom and was hoping to find some answers around HPV 16 transmission and children. Two years ago I was diagnosed with HPV 16 with abnormal pap. Up until last April 2015 I had continued to show the virus and cervical changes. However, my last pap on 04/15 came out clear of changes and virus. I am wondering that if the virus recurred in the future, should I be concerned about spreading it to my newborn who co-sleeps with my husband and me? Should we be taking precautions around sex or touching genitals and touching baby or objects that baby is in contact with?

I have also come across some swimsuits I had packed away that I tried on but did not wash when I had HPV. Is there any information on how long the virus remains active outside the body? Is there a risk in touching these swimsuits that I wore when I had HPV and touching the baby?

Finally, if the baby did contract HPV 16 would it be harmful? Are children at risk for HPV 16 complications when contracted non-sexually?

Thank you!



H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
46 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question.

Genital HPV infections are virtually never transmitted by nonsexual contact, including fairly intimate contact as between mother and baby. It sounds like your genital HPV 16 has been cleared by your immune system; delayed recurrence in that situation can occur but is uncommon. If and when it happens, only your sex partner(s) will be at risk -- never your kids, people sharing your bathroom or kitchens, etc. Also, you cannot re-catch the same type of HPV you have already had. And anyway, the virus is not transmitted by shared clothing.

All in all, HPV 16 is virtually absent in children, as far as we know. Look at it this way:  HPV 16 is just about the most common of all HPV types; probably 25-30% of all women have had it; and yet no children get it, despite the millions of kids raised bys uch women. So obviously you have nothing to worry about.

I hope this has been helpful. Best wishes for you, your baby, and your growing family.

HHH, MD



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46 months ago
Thank you, Dr. This is good to hear.

It seems you are recommending going about life as usual, so would you say things like taking a bath with baby would also be ok?

Also, out of curiosity, is there any information about how long the virus stays contagious outside the body?

Thank you!
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
46 months ago
You correctly understand. It will be entirely safe to take a bath with your baby.

STDs are not simply infections that happen to involve the genitals. They require sex for transmission. This includes HPV. The virus is not believed to survive or stay contagious outside the body, but there has not been detailed research on it. However, we know that nobody ever catches the virus except by sex with infected people, and nobody ever gets it in the household (as discussed above). Therefore, how long the virus survives doesn't matter. However long it is, it never infects anyone except through sex.

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46 months ago
Okay, I understand. This is a relief. Thank you for answering my questions Dr. HHH.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
46 months ago
You're welcome. Take care and again my best wishes for you and your family. Don't let your past HPV bother you; it won't ever be an issue in your life.

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