Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Community
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insights about hpv from ewh and hhh

This is for the future readers of this site who might have a single protected oral encounter and would be concerned about HPV risks. Compiled were snippets of UPDATED comments from asktheexperts (HHH, EWH, TW)


-Single exposures usually do not lead to infection
-Condoms reduce the risk of transmission
-Oral HPV infections are less common than genital HPV infection
-Oral is a less efficient transmission route than genital contact

From HHH(2017):

-Among other things, oral tissues and throat are less susceptible to STDs than genital tissues. I don't think I've ever seen a case of oral warts or herpes, for example, that was apparently acquired by oral sex.
- All in all, you probably were at higher risk for most STDs from a condom protected vaginal sex than from unprotected oral
-HPV is a different story. It is present in up to 50% of sexually active people at any time and probably efficiently transmitted, at least genital to genital; less so for oral sex, in either direction.
-Oral sex almost never transmits warts, and most warts don't show up sooner than 3-6 months after exposure.
-The chance you will someday have oral cancer due to HPV is 1.6% of the risk of all cancers (in males in the US, 14,000 pharyngeal per year versus total 850,000 for all cancers
-But the good news is that, as noted above, the large majority of HPV infections are never clinically apparent and cause no harm. Nevertheless, it appears you are obsessed by all this. I encourage you to do your best to gain a new perspective on HPV as an expected, unavoidable, most mostly harmless consequence of human sexuality. Young people should be immunized, women should have pap smears, and everyone should have any unexplained genital lesions or sores professionally examined. Otherwise, just forget HPV and go on with life.
-Everybody gets HPV, and probably at least 20-25% of all people get genital warts. Warts typically appear 3-6 months after exposure, but it can take a year or more.
-Most oral exposures to HPV don't result in infection, and oral warts are rare.
-There are no data on the risk of oral HPV from any single episode of oral sex.
-Most HPV infections are cleared by the immune system, and surgery for HPV problems also helps clear it and reduces transmission risk. Someone who had HPV 11 years previously, and had surgery, is unlikely to still be infected now.
-That is, warts can appear as soon as 2 months but often don't show up for 6-12 months.
-If visible warts are present and clear up, the virus probably is usually gone, at least within 3-4 months after the wart disappears.
-And oral HPV rarely progresses to cancer; throat cancer due to HPV remains a rare problem, despite lots of media attention to it in recent years.
-First, oral warts are rare, even in people who regularly perform oral sex on partners with genital warts.  It is very unlikely you will ever have a serious complication of oral HPV or that you will be a risk to future sex partners.
-There are no data, but I think the chance you have oral HPV from a single episode of performing fellatio is extremely low. And who cares? If you had it, it will have gone away by now; and oral sex does not frequently transmit HPV.
-Since HPV is normal, with at least 90% of all people having it at one time or another, and the large majority of cases don't cause symptoms or lead to disease, what's the big deal? Why is this so much on your mind? Think of it the way you may understand other bacteria and viruses
-Almost all HPV infections clear up on their own, and that certainly would include any infection your husband acquired from you. Penile cancer is very rare, even with HPV, and almost always easily curable without drastic treatment. It's really nothing to be worried about.


- It is known that the majority of single exposures to persons with STI infections, including HPV, do not acquire the infection and that repeated exposures make infection more likely.
-Oral sex rarely transmits HPV, but it happens sometimes.
-However, warts rarely result from oral sex, and condoms should effectively prevent new warts on the head of the penis.
-The VAST majority (well over 95%) of all genital HPV infections, including those associated with cancer, resolve without leading to cancer.  The concept that if you slept with someone and they were to get HPV and go on to get cancer (a process which takes years or even decades) is too linear.
-You used a condom for your genital exposure and HPV is very rarely acquired form oral sex, both because oral HPV infections are much less common than genital HPV and because from a biological perspective oral to genital STI transmission of any sort is "inefficient" with transmission occurring in only a small fraction of exposure to infected persons.
-We do know however that while HPV infections do occur in the throat, they are less common than genital infections, that they are poorly transmitted by oral sex and that a single receipt of oral sex, even "deep throat" oral sex, rarely leads to HPV infection.
-  Genital warts typically take about three and sometimes as long as six months to develop once infection is acquired but as I said above, acquisition of HPV from oral sex is rather uncommon (there are no precise figures on risk of acquisition)

1 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi Kevin, Thanks for a very information post. It helps keep the peace of mind for the infected ones.

I too was extremely worried and stressful, but I think this helps alot
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