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Date of last update: 10/12/2017.

Forum Name: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Question: HPV and transmission

 DuCo - Thu Aug 28, 2008 3:04 pm

My wife and I both have HPV. She has 2 small warts on her, but I havent had any for 9 years that I can see. My question is by having unprotected sex with her will I have warts reappear on me? If I give her oral sex will I get warts on or around my mouth?

 Dr. Chan Lowe - Sun Aug 31, 2008 9:29 pm

User avatar Hello DuCo,

Regarding your first post, the answer is maybe. The reason for this is that there are many strains of HPV. Some cause genital warts. It is possible that you have one strain and your wife has another. As such, you potentially could become infected with a new strain that can cause genital warts to begin to appear. If you have the same strain it is unlikely that you would develop new warts; however, if you do have this strain it could potentially reactivate and cause new warts without new exposure.

Regarding your second question, the answer to this one is no. The strains of HPV that cause genital warts do not cause warts on other parts of the body.

Best wishes.
 kLepTo - Sun Sep 14, 2008 3:45 pm

Is there anything I can do to prevent transmission of common warts to another person? I have one on my right hand and it'd be kinda weird to shake hands using my left.

 Debbie Miller, RN - Fri Sep 19, 2008 9:16 am

User avatar Hello,
Some people choose to cover a wart with a bandage if they are worried about spread to another. But, though they are contagious, simply touching a wart on someone doesn't mean that person will get one. The viruses that cause warts are passed through close physical contact or from a surface that a person with a wart touches, like a bathmat or a shower floor. A tiny cut or scratch can make any area of skin more vulnerable to warts. Also, picking at a wart can spread warts to other parts of the body.

There are effective treatments for warts such as these. Of course the doctor can remove them (though sometimes they recur). Home remedies include an occlusive barrier such as occlusive tape (people often use duct tape). We don't know exactly how this works - perhaps it triggers an immune response so our own body targets the area with white blood cells. Because warts often disappear on their own within about a year it is possible this process is expedited with the tape. At any rate, it must be occluded for quite a while - not just a week or so. Success has been reported about 50% of the time.

It also appears warts like a cool, dry environment. Another remedy is to soak the area frequently in water as hot as you can tolerate it. As the water cools, gradually add more hot water. Do this for about 30 minutes as often as you can manage.

People also get results from salicylic acid applied to the wart with caution to avoid adjoining healthy skin. This comes as a remedy you can buy. Dermarrest and Compound W are some brands available in the U.S. that are marketed for this use. The biggest problem with people using these treatments is that they quit too soon. It takes quite a while to get rid of these pesty lesions.

Best wishes.
 blue jay - Thu Dec 25, 2008 6:25 pm

My wife recently told me she has HPV. I am not sure which type but not the warts.
Is it possible that I gave it to her 18 yrs. ago and it has been dormant all this time?
If that is possible does it put her at a higher risk for cancer.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:39 pm

User avatar Hello Blue Jay,

HPV can remain dormant for many years, especially in men. There are specific strains of HPV that have a higher risk of causing cervical cancer. Other strains cause genital warts while still other strains cause warts in other places.

Often, women learn that they have HPV because there have been changes found on their pap smear. Often times in these cases, the HPV strain can be typed to see if it is one of the more aggressive strains. Your wife's gynecologist can assist with this.

Best wishes.

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