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Q. What is the mode of transmission of HPV virus other than sexual contact?

Answered by
Dr. V Srikanth Reddy
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Sep 09, 2020

Hello doctor,

My HPV test results come back positive. I had intercourse only with my husband, and I am his only partner. Is there any other way this infection could have been transmitted. I get tested every two years. Could it have been dormant in one of us?

Dr. V Srikanth Reddy

Dermatology Venereology
#

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

What strain of HPV are you tested positive? Are those genital warts? Normal cutaneous warts can also cause genital infection, so it need not be sexually transmitted all the time.


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Thank you doctor,

I am not sure whether the test was done during my pap smear. No, I do not have genital warts as a symptom.

Dr. V Srikanth Reddy

Dermatology Venereology
#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Pap smear test is done for confirmation of cervical malignancy. Positivity indicates that you have abnormal cells, and grading has to be known about whether it is due to HPV (human papillomavirus) infected cells or any dysmorphic cells.

Positivity does not mean malignancy, but you need to be screened every year to rule any changes of malignancy in the pap smear.


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Thank you doctor,

I understood. I am more interested in the HPV diagnosis and how it was transmitted.

Dr. V Srikanth Reddy

Dermatology Venereology
#

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

HPV can be acquired through direct contact with skin or through the sexual route and also sometimes due to breakage of the skin barrier due to some frictions. It need not be a sexual route always. And in the majority of individuals it would be like subclinical infection where you cannot have any lesions as it causes lesions only in case of immunocompromised individuals.

If you test 100 women for pap smear, 40% of individuals can be positive even without sexual history indicating that other organisms can also mimic HPV on pap smear which are normal commensals of genital tract.

So for you if the HPV typing is done and if it is found to be HPV 16 or 18 you need to have regular screenings at regular intervals, and also there is an option of vaccination.

To conclude, HPV has many routes of transmission and among that sexual route is one. Other transmission can be through skin contact and fomites.


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