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hpv
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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

Doctors,
I have been reading about HPV and understand your views about public overreaction.  That said, I would like your opinion about the likelihood of getting HPV from a recent encounter with another man.  
While i didn't perform oral sex on him, i did briefly hold his penis and place my lips on the head (where there was precum).  I didn't rub his penis, and the only friction there might have been was to my mouth, since we had been kissing.  Now I wonder how likely i was to have gotten oral HPV (and I understand that even if i did, the likelihood of cancer isn't great, particularly since i don't smoke); how likely i was to have acquired the infection on my hand; and finally, if i did get oral HPV, how likely it is that i have since spread the infection to my genitals because i have certainly at some point had my fingers in my mouth.  

Thank you for your insights.
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239123_tn?1267651214
Welcome to the forum and thanks for your question.  Thanks also for researching other discussions pertinent to your situation.

Unfortunately, there simply are no data on which to judge the likelihood of acquiring HPV after any single sexual exposure, whether oral or otherwise.  Given the frequency of genital HPV, there certainly is at least a fair likelihood that your partner had HPV of the penis.  However, it still remains unlikely you caught oral HPV from this event.

No STDs are transmitted with especially high efficiency -- i.e. even when infection is present, the majority of exposured don't result in actual transmission.  And as you may have seen in reviewing other threads, oral HPV infection is much less common than genital, despite the high frequency of oral sex in most population groups -- maybe because oral tissues are less susceptible to HPV, i.e. the infection doesn't take hold as well as in genital or anal tissues.  And certainly the relatively brief, superfical contact you describe seems especially unlikely to result in transmission.  It is likely that the virus has to be "massaged" into susceptible tissues for infection to take hold, which is why genital warts appear most frequenly at those places subject to maximum friction during sex.  Maybe this also affects transmission to and from the mouth:  oral sex probably is usually less prolonged and less vigorous than genital or anal sex.

All that is pretty speculative.  However, the bottom line is that I think you are at very, very low risk of having acquired HPV orally from the exposure described.  As for auto-inoculation (i.e. self transmission) of an oral HPV infection to the genitals, I have never heard of it happening.  I suppose it is possible, but clearly the vast majority of genital area HPVs come from direct exposure of the genitals to sex partners, not from auto-inoculation.  I really don't think you should be at all concerned about this.

I hope this helps.  Best wishes--  HHH, MD
4 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you.  And just to clarify, since I don't think you specifically addressed the question (if so, I apologize), just holding the penis would be unlikely to result in transmission, since there was no massaging?
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Avatar_n_tn
One more clarification, as my initial question wasn't clear.  With respect to transmission from mouth to hands (and then to genitals),  I actually was inquiring not only about the kind of immediate transfer (i.e., hands in mouth then hands on genitals) but also about transmitting the virus to my fingers themselves.  
Thank you, and I will not ask any further questions or points of clarification.
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239123_tn?1267651214
Hand contact never results in HPV.
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