STDs Expert Forum
My girlfriend has HPV TYPE 16, can I give her oral sex?
About This Forum:

The STD Forum is intended only for questions and support pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital warts, trichomonas, other vaginal infections, nongonoccal urethritis (NGU), cervicitis, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Blank Blank

My girlfriend has HPV TYPE 16, can I give her oral sex?

Hi

First of all sorry for my bad english, I'm spanish. I hope you will understand my question.

I'm in a relation since one year and a half with my girlfriend. We had sex without condoms and both have oral sex lot of times.

Some months ago, my girlfriend told me that she has HPV type 16 (she is sure about that) since 5 years. She has been going to the doctor every 4 months because she has a small cervical dysplasia, that is not growing along all this time. The doctor said that is not necesary to make a surgery in order to quit it, but she has been in observation along all these years (like I said, every 4 months).

The Doctor never told her about she should said that she has HPV to her boyfriend, she didnt know it was a STD.  I was very accepting understanding and honestly felt like it was no big deal.

But I started to research a bit, and I found, also in these forums, that HPV, specially the type she has (16) is linked to oral cancer. For example I've read in this study: http://www.natap.org/2007/HIV/051007_01.htm That those who tested positive to HPV-16, were 58 times more likely to have throat cancer.

So, my question are:

a) Should I stop giving oral sex to her?
b) How can I know if I have HPV too? Which kind of proof do I have to pass?
c) Should I use condoms always with her?
d) Could you give me some kind of ballpark odds of performing oral sex on a woman carrying HPV 16 and then developing oral cancer? And penis cancer?
e) Can she be cured of the HPV virus or she going to have it along all her life?
f) It is possible that I have developed an inmunity to HPV 16 if my immune system was strong by the time the virus was in my body for the first time?
g) Shoud I go (like she is doing) every 4 months (or whatever) to a Doctor in order he can check my mouth / throat (in order to avid oral cancer) and also my penis?
i) What we can do and we can't in our sex relation?

If are there other things I have to take in count, please, tell me.

Thank you in advance, and sorry again for my bad english.
Related Discussions
239123_tn?1267651214
There is an apparent software glitch.  The reply window apparently is accepting only a very brief reply.  I will try again in a comment window to follow this one.

HHH, MD
6 Comments
Blank
239123_tn?1267651214
I'm still getting a block, saying my reply is over 8,000 characters.  It may be a bit wordy, but nothing like 8,000.  I'm going to try to split it into two comments windows:

Bienvenido al foro.  Intentare ayudarle.  El mensaje central es que Ud. no tiene causa por miedo.

My first reaction to your story is to suspect a misunderstanding between your girlfriend and her doctor, or between you and her.  It is uncommon for HPV infection to persist for 5 years, and it is also rare for doctors to simply observe cervical dysplasia for so long without treating it, especially due to a high risk type of HPV like HPV-16.  I am not familiar with the usual approaches to cervical dysplasia in Spain, but I would be surprised to learn that dysplasia due to HPV-16 would go untreated.  Therefore, I suspect your partner no longer has an active HPV-16 infection.  Alternatively, perhaps she should seek a second opinion from another specialist.

But let's assume that you are correct and that she has HPV-16.  There still are no worries for your health, either oral or genital.  It is true that HPV-16 is associated with some cancers in the throat, but much less commonly than the media stories suggest.  In the entire United States, it is estimated that there are only about 6,000 such cancers per year, and undoubtedly there are correspondingly fewer in Spain's smaller population.  Further, most of those cancers occur in people over age 50, and it is not certain that they acquired their HPV infection through oral sex.  When you consider the frequency of HPV-16 genital infections (millions of Spaniards) plus the frequency of oral sex, the chance of catching an infection that will progress to throat cancer is extremely low.  This is not a cause for worry.

To be continued....
Blank
239123_tn?1267651214
Since you have been having regular genital intercourse and oral sex, you can assume you already have been exposed to your girlfriend's HPV infection and likely infected with it.  Or you could have been infected previously yourself and are now immune to a new infection with the same HPV type.  In other words, it is too late to prevent transmission and there is no need to change your sexual practices.

To your specific questions:

a, c, i) Do not stop oral sex and do not use condoms.  There is no need to alter your sexual practices with your partner in any way.

b, f) There is no way to know whether you are currently infected or have been infected with HPV-16 in the past. Special tests are used in research but are not available (and not useful) in clinical practice.  Most likely you were infected; you never will know for certain, and it doesn't matter.  Almost all cases of HPV infections in men clear up by themselves, without ever causing symptoms.  After they clear up, the person is immune (or at least highly resistant) to a new infection with the same type of HPV.  This is true even in people whose immune systems are not "strong".

d) Probably zero, or very close to it.  This is not a cause for worry.  See above.

e) As I said, most HPV infections clear up on their own.  Proper treatment of your girlfriend's dysplasia will speed it up.

g) You do not need to see a doctor.  Millions of Spanish men have had HPV-16.  You're just one of them. Almost none of you will have any problem from it.

I hope this helps settle your fears.  Buena suerte--  HHH, MD
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
Dear H. Hunter Handsfield,

Tu español es muy bueno (your spanish is really good).

Gracias! Thank you VERY MUCH for your answer. Now I'm more relaxed! A lot more!

"My first reaction to your story is to suspect a misunderstanding between your girlfriend and her doctor, or between you and her.  It is uncommon for HPV infection to persist for 5 years, and it is also rare for doctors to simply observe cervical dysplasia for so long without treating it, especially due to a high risk type of HPV like HPV-16."

In fact, she (and her doctor) are from Czech Republic. She is now moving to Spain, so we would be able to go to the doctor together.

She told me she had two doctors. The first one, after some years treating her, suggested her a surgery. She them went for another opinion and the second doctor (the one that is treating her) said that the surgery was not necesary.

Now we want to see the opinion of a spanish doctor. This would be better for me in order to be able to ask questions in my own language (I didn't met the other doctors).

"d) Probably zero, or very close to it.  This is not a cause for worry.  See above. "

The problem with this studies (like this one I showed you: http://www.natap.org/2007/HIV/051007_01.htm) is that they are REALLY scaring. They talk about percentage, probabilities, etc and always talks about VPH-16. And they look really well done (I mean statiscally talking, using the correct samples, deviations). So it's very easy to get scared. What's the problem with these studies? Are they wrong? Maybe they are exaggerated in order to atrack attention?

Muchas gracias!
Blank
239123_tn?1267651214
De nada, y gracias por las palabras favorables re mi espanol.  Yo aprendia castillano puro, muy raro en EEUU.  Tengo un paciente (con HIV) que nacio en Panama; el dice que es por eso que yo hablo como tengo una papa en la boca.  Pero tengo el vocabulario de un nino de siete.

That research is less frightening than it seems.  Take the opening sentence, "People who have had more than five oral-sex partners in their lifetime are 250% more likely to have throat cancer than those who do not have oral sex...."  First, 250% sounds like a lot, but it actually means the risk in those with more oral partners is 2.5 times higher than in other persons.  As you suggest, most likely the writer chose those words to make it sound dramatic.

Second, if the throat cancer risk in those with fewer than 5 oral partners is 1 in 100,000, a 250% increase means the risk in those with more oral partners is 1 in 40,000.  You will agree that is still an exceedlingly low risk.  (Based on 6,000 cases per year in the US, these numbers probably are not far off the truth.)

Really, you have no health worries here.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
Dear H. Hunter Handsfield,

Muchas gracias de nuevo, es usted todo un profesional. Le deseo salud, dinero y amor :)
Blank
Continue discussion Blank
This Forum's Experts
239123_tn?1267651214
H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
Seattle, WA
300980_tn?1194933000
Edward W Hook, MDBlank
University of Alabama at Birmingham
,
MedHelp Health Answers
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Control Emotional Eating with this ...
Sep 04 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eating Control: How to St...
Aug 28 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
233488_tn?1310696703
Blank
New Cannabis Article from NORTH Mag...
Jul 20 by John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank