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Hand warts cause genital warts? (Confused)
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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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Hand warts cause genital warts? (Confused)

Hi doctor,

I just developed a wart on my hand.  I touched my penis a few days with the same hand.  Is there a way I could infect myself with genital warts from my hand wart?  A doctor said I could, but read online that is not possible since genital and common warts have a different HPV strains.  Please clarify this issue with me.  Additional information:

• Not sexually active for the last five years
• Got tested for STDs (even for genital warts due to bumps in penis) this year and results are negative
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I think I agree with the doctor you spoke with.  There are over 100 different kinds of HPV and the different types have a different proclivity for infecting different types of skin.  Thus the HPV that causes warts on peoples' hands and feet tend to be different than those that cause genital warts.  For the same reason, it would be most unusual for a person to transmit the virus causing infection of their hand to their genitals.  While I learned long ago that in medicine one should never say "never", for you to have transmitted the wart from your hands to your genitals would be most unusual.

The topic of HPV and genital warts is a complex one.  I will try to provide some facts.  For addition information on this most common of STDs, I would suggest search for other HPV- and wart-related Q&A on this site, as well seeking addition information on sites such as the American Social health Association web-site (disclosure, Dr. Handsfield and I are both on the Board of ASHA).  Hope this is helpful.  EWH
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Thanks, Doctor.  One final question:  I was using mometasome furoate (steriod cream) for lichen nitidus in the penis base shaft three days before I discovered the hand wart.  However, I did not use the hand I have a wart on to apply cream.  I used the hand that I have the wart on to touch the back of the penis shaft (part that touches scrotum).  

A nurse told me steroid creams can lower my immune system and could increase my chances to catch genital warts.  However, a doctor examined my hand wart and told me there was not a chance that I could transfer my hand warts to my genital.  He said it is not possible due to the size and type of wart in my finger.  Also, he said theoretically HPV can be transmitted from skin-to-skin contact, but there was no chance in my case.  However, I did not tell him I used mometasome furoate three days before I saw the hand wart.  I am not using the cream anymore.  I tend to believe the doctor more since he examined the wart.  Do you agree or have a different opinion?

Thanks a bunch
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I also tend to agree with the doctor.  The weakening of the immune system which steroids induce is local, not general and with topical steroids really there is really little effect.  In fact the reason they are used topically to limit their effects only to the region treated.  I would not worry.  EWH
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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Edward W Hook, MDBlank
University of Alabama at Birmingham
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