STDs Expert Forum
HPV without sex
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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.

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HPV without sex

I spent the night in bed with a girl last night. I wore my boxers and she wore really short shorts. We didn't kiss or engage in any sexual activity or grinding of any kind. We did have our legs intertwined at various points but we didn't even rub legs together really. This morning she tells me she had surgery for cervical dysplasia last Friday night. And that she has HPV. We didn't discuss whether she has had warts.

I understand that there are more than a 100 different types of HPV. And I have had sex before and most people who have had sex have some strands of HPV. I am just concerned with having genital warts or carrying a strand that would cause cervical dysplasia with a future partner.

How likely is it that I contracted something last night?
239123_tn?1267651214
Welcome to the forum and thanks for your question.

Before I get to your specific questions, I'd like you to come to an understanding about some basic facts about HPV.  Everybody gets it, and so wlll you someda; it's unavoidable unless you live alife without sex with other people,  Most infections never cause symptoms and go away without causing harm; this is true even for the high-risk (cancer-causing) HPV strains.  If and when you or a partner ever have HPV diagnosed, such as cervical dysplasia in a partner, you probably will not be able to tell when ir from whom you caught it.  People with known or diagnosed genital HPV are no more likely than anyone else to transmit the virus to partners.  Finally, entirely different types of HPV are responsible for warts and for pre-cancerous cervical dysplasia.

For all these reasons, nobody should go through life worrying about HPV, and nobody should freak out over any particular sexual exposure, even with a partner known to have HPV, warts, or an abnormal pap smear.  All young people should be immunized with Gardasil, the vaccine that prevents against 4 of the most troublesome HPV types -- and otherwise forget HPV.

As for your particular exposure, I agree it would have been kind of your partner to tell you about her very recently treated HPV infection before the sewmi-sexual exposure and not afterward.  Still, the virus is rarely transmitted without unprotected intercourse.  When warts appear on the thighs, it probably isn't because of direct transmission.  It happens primarily in people who start out with actual genital infection, with subsequent spread to nearby areas like the thighs, buttocks, anal area, and so on. And even this is the exception, not the rule.

Finally, in the unlikely event you caught this partner's HPV infection, and in the even less likely event you developed visible warts, it won't happen for some  time.  The earliest warts can appear is 2-3 months after exposure and the average is 6-12 months.

Bottom lines:  It is very unlikely you acquired HPV from this event; and if you did you probably will never know it and will not likely transmit it ti future partners.

I hope this has helped.  Best wishes--  HHH, MD
3 Comments
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I understand that HPV can appear on the thighs so that is the concern.
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239123_tn?1267651214
See above.
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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