High Risk HPV Transmission
January 7, 2016 9:13 PM   Subscribe

Can HIGH risk HPV be transmitted by performing oral sex?

I am talking about the strain that can cause cervical cancer; not the genital wart strain.

So if I have high risk HPV and I perform oral sex on my partner, will he be infected by it? There are many articles about how low risk HPV (genital warts strain) can be transmitted skin to skin contact and orally but not much about high risk.

I'm trying to figure out who infected me. I dated my ex for 5 1/2 years and he's only had 1 partner and used a condom. I never tested positive. We broke up and I met with my current bf (4 years) and within the first year or two we were sexually active I tested positive. He was a virgin before me but did receive oral sex from one person. Luckily my body cleared it up and I received Gardasil shots.
posted by Asian_Hunnie to Science & Nature (6 answers total)
I don't know the answer to your question, but I'm curious as to why you're asking it. Men cannot get sick from HPV unless it's a strain that causes warts, and there's no way for men to be tested. So, neither of your partners will have gotten sick from you, and neither of them could have warned you that they have HPV.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 3:53 AM on January 8, 2016

It's possible, but the likelihood would be greater if he gave rather than received oral sex. But seconding that you should think about how this line of thought is useful to you. Regardless of the answer, how will it affect your life?
posted by metasarah at 5:25 AM on January 8, 2016

Response by poster: Thank you all for answering....guess I won't ever know. @i_am_fiesta I don't think that is a fact. Men can carry the strains of all kinds but are rarely affected by it and can't be tested for it from what I've read.
posted by Asian_Hunnie at 5:57 AM on January 8, 2016

Most people clear the virus within a few years. By this point I would assume that you've both already been exposed, but have both already cleared the virus. Nthing wondering why you're still worried about this?
posted by kinddieserzeit at 6:56 AM on January 8, 2016

Men can develop oral, throat, penile, and anal cancer from HPV, although how likely that is depends on other intersecting factors.

While there is no approved, and therefore clinically available, HPV test for men, it is certainly possible for us to detect HPV infection in men. The reason men cannot get tested for HPV is that until recently no one in a position of capability found it necessarily, not because we don't know how to do it. We can do the test in theory, as of right now we just don't.
posted by Poppa Bear at 7:25 AM on January 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

There are around 40 types of HPV that infect the anogenital region. Type 16 causes the most cancer, and type 18 is the next most common culprit. Gardasil prevents infections from both of these, as does Cervarix, the other brand of HPV vaccine available in the US. The newer form of Gardasil also protects against 5 additional high-risk (i.e., able to cause cancer) types.

All types of HPV are transmitted by contact with infected tissue. If you have an oral HPV infection and perform oral sex, you could transmit the infection, but that wouldn't be guaranteed. Your partner could be exposed and not get infected; could be exposed and get briefly infected, then have the infection resolve with no ill effects; or could be exposed, get persistently infected, and have that infection go on to become cancerous.

I agree that it really doesn't matter who infected you. Most Americans will have at least one HPV infection over the course of their lives. Usually these infections come and go without the person even knowing about it. You don't have to have intercourse to transmit HPV. It can be transmitted through non-coital sexual contact and possibly even through kissing.

As Poppa Bear says, it is absolutely not true that the only harm men suffer from HPV is genital warts. Oropharyngeal cancer from HPV is much more common in men than in women, and rivals cervical cancer in incidence. Men can also get anal or penile cancer from HPV.
posted by lakeroon at 7:43 AM on January 8, 2016 [11 favorites]

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