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Genital Warts on Hand?
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Genital Warts on Hand?

Hi,

Thank you so much for taking my question(s)!  

About 5 months ago, I was dating a man with whom I became intimate.  We engaged in hand-to-genital contact (no genital-to-genital contact).  Two days after we were together for the first time, he was diagnosed with genital warts by his GP. About 6 weeks after the incident, I found warts emerging on the inside of my thumb and forefinger.  I went to the dermatologist, and asked if you can get genital warts on your hand.  He surprised me by saying that you absolutely can get genital wart strains on the hand, and given the timing, that's most likely what I have.  Over the next several weeks, I broke out with more warts on the palms of my other hand.

My questions are as follows:

1)  Is there any way to find out what strain I am carrying?  I'm concerned because I work in human services, and touch people all day long as part of my job.  I can live with myself knowing I may pass along a common wart or two, but cannot live with the fact that I may pass along a case of genital warts hand-to-hand.  

2)  I keep reading that common warts are not that contagious, but genital warts are highly contagious.  Does that mean that the genital wart strains are easier to transfer in general, even if they are on your hands?  

3) How I will never know if these go away for good?  I understand that with genital warts, once you are symptom free for 6 months, it's very unlikely that you'll have a recurrence.  But, assuming my hands periodically come into contact with people who have warts on their hands, this probably isn't the last case of warts I'll ever have. Therefore, how will I ever know if my genital wart strain is gone?  I would eventually like to have another relationship in the future, and am afraid of ever touching anyone's genitals again (or their hands, for that matter!).

Hopefully you can help me out with this odd (and extremely upsetting) situation.
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I really have no idea why the dermatologist said what he did.  There is no way to tell what strain of warts you had.  If you spread genital warts to hands easily, everyone with genital warts would have them on the hands and everywhere else.  They don't.  My advice to you is the same as that I would give to anyone with hand wart--get them frozen off and forget about them.  Your situation may be (unnecessarily) upsetting, but there's nothing the least bit odd about it.

Take care.

Dr. Rockoff
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