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National Cervical Cancer Coalition

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 Post subject: HPV & Oral sex
PostPosted: Sun Jan 21, 2007 12:59 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 21, 2007 12:25 am
Posts: 1
I am a female who has been in a same-sex relationship for about a year. My partner had HPV warts about a year before we got together and hasn't had any since. She told me about that early on in our relationship and we have been avoiding direct genital contact and oral sex since then. The thing I am most afraid of is contracting HPV in my mouth and never being able to kiss anyone again, or of having to inform possible future partners before I kiss them that I have or had oral HPV. Is this a reasonable fear? I have heard that it is rare to get oral HPV from performing oral sex, but that it can happen. If it did happen, could I pass it on to someone by kissing them? I read that certain strains are more likely to manifest orally; would it help to know what strain of HPV my partner has? If so, how do you find that out? I might be able to get the gardasil vaccine; if I get that will it protect me from getting HPV orally?

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 25, 2007 9:47 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2006 4:08 pm
Posts: 2122
Location: North Carolina
Hello and welcome to our forum,

Genital HPV is transmitted through direct skin to skin contact when an infected area comes into direct contact with mucous membranes or the delicate skin of the genital area. This can occur through genital to genital contact, vaginal and anal sex.

The exact risks of contracting HPV through oral sex are currently unknown. It may be possible to contract HPV through performing oral sex, though the mouth appears to be a less hospitable environment for HPV than the genital area. Each type of HPV tends to infect a specific skin area, making it unlikely for genital types of HPV to become established and create disease orally. Research shows that it is uncommon for HPV to be found in the mouth in the form of warts (or lesions). A common recommendation is not to perform oral sex on a partner with genital HPV while lesions are present.

Latex barriers (like dental dams and condoms) may provide some protection against the transmission of HPV with a new partner. However, barriers are limited to only providing protection for skin that is covered. If virus is present on skin that is not covered, and there is skin-to-skin contact with that area, then transmission may still be possible. Nonetheless, we recommend the use of latex barriers to reduce the risks of contracting HPV and other STDs. Read more about this at and for a dental dam overview go to

Some experts believe that removing genital warts may lower the risk of transmission since it reduces the areas of tissue that contain most of the virus. Removing warts cannot guarantee that the risk of transmission is removed. However, if no symptoms recur in the subsequent months following treatment, the chance of transmission dramatically decreases, and some researchers consider the possibility of being contagious during this time would be minimal to remote.

I hope this helps. All the best,

ASHA Moderator

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