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High Risk HPV spread the Saliva
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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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High Risk HPV spread the Saliva

1. How probable is it to spread high risk hpv (without any signs/symptoms) through saliva (sharing straw or kissing) if a partner has a micro abrasion (from eating a chip) in their mouth?

My wife and I have been married for 7 years and neither of us have shown any symptoms of warts. Her paps have come back fine (after giving birth to 3 children). However, prior to getting married (8-9 years ago), I had a little to much fun in college and developed some bumps on my shaft, which eventually went away in about 3-7 months (I think). I have not had a recurrence since. I have no idea if the bumps were high risk. Partners up the point of being married were probably 18 and oral was probably 4.

2. Provided we have had oral sex, numerous times, does the risk increase for oral cancer by kissing when one of us has a micro abrasion from a chip or an ulcerated lesion? Our dental visits have been normal since our marriage.

3. Do I or any of my family members risk developing oral warts by transferring an invisible wart from my private, if I don't wash my hands for 15-20 seconds before handling food?

4. I have seen your post claiming our body possibly clears HPV after some time, why is there such a dispute in the medical world? I asked my dermatologist and was told it stays in the body and is dormant.

5. Do you have any thoughts or insights to easy my mind?
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Welcome to the STD forum.

As for your possible genital warts almost a decade ago:  Most genital HPV infections clear up on their own within a year or two, and do not recur.  The high-risk (cancer causing) HPV types don't cause warts; and the wart-causing types generally don't cause cancer.  Having had several sex partners in your life, probably you have indeed had one or more high risk HPV infections; most people get them at one time or another.  But with your wife's normal pap smears, this also isn't a concern.  Your probable past HPV infection(s) probably have long since been eradicated by your immune system.  At this point, there probably are no risks to your or your wife's health. This isn't something to worry about at this point in your life.

1) Oral HPV infections are uncommon, and mouth contact rarely transmits the virus.  Transmission of the genital HPV strains by kinds of contact with saliva like you describe has never been known to happen.

2) Despite the media attention to oral cancer and HPV in recent years, this remains a rare problem.  There are only around 6,000 HPV related oral/throat cancers per year in the entire US (i.e. it is 10 times less common than AIDS); and it is not certain whether those HPV infections resulted from oral sex or some other route.  HPV is not a reason to worry about oral sex, with or without abrasions or any other oral health problem.

3) No, definitely not.  Genital HPV is not transmitted except by sex.

4) There is no conflict or dispute.  Here is a quote from another thread, which summarizes the knowledge about HPV persistence; we have said the same thing many times on this forum:  "It is possible that all HPV infections persist indefinitely, at some undetectable level....  Some HPV biologists believe such persistence always occurs.  However, the infection becomes undetectable with all available technologies, typically over several months to a year or two.  Once it becomes undetectable, infection rarely reappears and probably cannot be transmitted to partners.  So for practical purposes, the infection is completely resolved and can be considered cured."

5) "Do you have any thoughts or insights to easy my mind?"  Yes, I do.  Stop worrying about it.  Getting genital HPV is a normal consequence of human sexuality.  Not desired, but normal in that it happens to almost everyone.  Happily, the large majority of infections clear up (within the limits of our ability to detect them) and never cause any important health problem.

Questions like yours are common on this forum.  Entering "oral HPV" in the search window reveals 600 discussions and "HPV persistence" shows over 300.  Please scan them for more information.

Regards--  HHH, MD
Thank you, Dr. Hansfield, for taking time to reiterate previously stated points and addressing my questions!
Thank you for "The high-risk (cancer causing) HPV types don't cause warts".  I have been wondering about this for years. I got a genital wart years ago. I am glad I cannot pass something on to my wife that could potentially harm her.
I recently found out that I was positive for hpv so went on line and did sum reserch. Now I'm really worried! Can I pass hpv to my child if we drink from the same cup, straw or if we share food? Since I have hpv and me and my long time partner keeps having sex and he has it to will it ever clear up on it own? Should we stop having oral sex?
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
Seattle, WA
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