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can hpv be transmitted through saliva alone?
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can hpv be transmitted through saliva alone?

Six months ago I learned that I have HPV type 56 traces under my fingernails, from an exposure one year ago,
I tested to see if it had transferred to my genitals but luckily it had not. However I'm worried that it could have been passed from my fingers to my mouth (through biting nails etc). Sometimes I feel a small slight bump on the edge of the hard palate but it keeps going away after a few days and then appearing a week or two later in a slightly different place.  

Today I briefly took turns with someone blowing a brass instrument - afterwards I was anxious that my saliva on the mouthpiece might have given them HPV. What I have read here suggests this is not possible - saliva will not pass the infection without skin-to-skin contact . Is this right?

Many thanks for your help.

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Avatar_m_tn
You are right, HPV is only tramsmitted through skin to skin contact.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for your reply.  But what about those warnings about shared sextoys? Would the difference be that since sextoys go into areas where the virus is more concentrated there is some risk, even though there is no direct skin to skin contact? Whereas with shared oral utensils there is no risk because the virus is diluted by saliva to the extent that it can't transmit the infection?

On the same principle, I think that a man can get oral HPV from performing cunnilingus on a woman, but a woman not get HPV from receiving cunnilingus. Is that right?
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Avatar_m_tn
Transmission is caused by skin, not fluids. So in the case of a sex toy, it would be skin cells that are left on, not the fluids themselves. I would imagine the risk would be most relevant for the immediate sharing of the toy. Washing it should eliminate the risk.
Oral sex is similar. I don't know why the risk is greater for performing oral sex than receiving, but my I think it has to do with the fact that genital hpv infections are very common, oral are not. Transmission of HPV through oral sex isn't as easy as through genital to genital contact. The risk that somebody has oral hpv, and the risk that you would contract it through oral sex would be low.

There is no reason to think that you have oral hpv. The bump that you describe is not a symptom. I think that it is unlikely that you have oral HPV, unlikely that you left any HPV infected skin on your instrument, and VERY Unlikely that HPV would be transmitted this way.

Considering the majority of us contract at least one strain of genital HPV in our lives, and the majority engage in oral sex, and oral HPV is still somewhat rare, i do not think sharing utensils or musical instruments is much to worry about.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you very much for such an informative reply.

Can I ask you one more question?  My main fear is that I could have passed this infection  to my usual partner through digital-genital contact. I am told that this is unlikely but possible. However, I did get the infection from a very brief genital-digital contact and so I am worried I could just as easily have passed it on.

My question - how likely is it that I passed it on (I used fingers on five occasions after acquiring the infection form a different person - I didn't know then that ther was any risk with fingers in either direction).

Secondly, why should digital-genital transmission be more unusual than genital-digital transmission?



Many thanks again for your help
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Alex

Two questions:

1)  I did use my type 56-infected finger with my partner on about five questions before I knew there was a risk?  Is it likely that I passed the infectuion on in  this way? I would like to believe it was unlikely, but can't understabnd the scientific reason why it would be less likely from the finger. I'm concerned because although type 56 is one of the weaker high risk types, it is known to cause Bowen's disease on the finger in some cases, and so it may have been able to stay on the finger with a higher viral dose, and therefore be capable of transmitting the infection.

2) Do you think it is possible to transfer the infectuion by fomites? Example: if I touch a cup with my infected finger and pass it to someone else who holds it in their hand and soon after goes to the toilet, perhaps touching themselves in the urethral area, would there be any possibility, real or theoretical, of infection?

Many thanks for your help.

andy950


By the way - sorry for sending a question direct to your email - I was just concerned that you didn't see it on my previous post.


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Avatar_m_tn
Hi andy,

I am sorry, but your questions are too advanced for me!

I know that infection outside the genital oral region is really rare, and was surprised to see that you tested positive for this. I am also not familiar with specifics of HPV-56. Perhaps another member would be able to provide more information. You may wish to consider posting on the STD expert forums. The doctors there are quite knowledgeable and should be able to clarify things. There is a fee for this service, though, and I don't know how comfortable the doctors are answering questions about hypothetical situations.

I wish I could be of more help, but anything I add would just be parrotting something i searched for.

Best of luck.

Alex
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for your reply - I am surprised to have found an area that is new to you! It is actually very interesting. People have been found to have hpv dna under their fingernails, usually assumed to be auto-inoculated. I think Dr HHH's position is that DNA under the fingernails is too weak to pass an infection on. I tested myself elsewhere and found that I had not passed it to any other part of my body, which would confirm this. I am hoping that I haven't infected my partner - my hope is based on the fact that if I had done so (by using the finger) I would later have picked up this infection from her on my genitals, which has not happened. Some will argue that I wouldn't get the same infection twice, because of antibodies. I think this has been disproved by research showing partners returning hpv infections to a different part of their partner's body. It is also disproved by the research finding of DNA under people's fingernails, the same types as on their genitals. Also I don't know enough about medicine but I imagine that given that HPV infections are localised (that's why there are no system tests for it) an infection on a hand would not prevent one getting the same strain in the genitals. I think I have sort of answered my own question, but would be interested in any views you have.

As for my second question about fomites, I think that the chances of this kind of transmission must be almost zero, otherwise HPV would be even more widespread and would not be considered a sexually-transmitted disease. It's just that when it happen's to you, it's hard to keep that kind of logic in mind.,.

all the best
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