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Warts and STDs
January 2003

Q. I had a mutual masturbation with a sex worker more than 15 months ago. I was scared to have sexually transmitted disease (STDs) and have been getting continuous check-up with my physician after that. All tests were negative and the physician believes I am free of STDs.

However I recently found a tiny hand wart (after 15 months), a little bit smaller than 1 mm that is the same color as my skin. My physician believes this hand wart has nothing to do with my sexual contact 15 months ago.

I do have some questions to ask about this hand wart: Is it possible to pass the wart from genital to hand? What are the common ways to get hand warts? If I have a hand wart now, is it possible to spread to my genital area during my everyday life? (washing, go to toilet, masturbation?)

I am quite worried because there are some information from the web indicating this is possible. Is it possible to pass the hand wart to my girlfriend if I touch her genital area during sex? Do I need to take any precaution if I wish to have baby in future? Do I need to take any precaution during everyday life in order not to infect other people?

A. Warts are a common condition, caused by the papilloma virus. Warts on the skin are not easily passed through casual contact, but warts on moist surfaces called mucous membranes (such as the mouth or vagina) can be more easily transmitted. Intact skin is a good barrier to infection but any small cut or abrasion can raise the risk of infection.

Warts on the skin are harmless, but genital warts in men or women can cause significant problems and should be treated. Some varieties of HPV, the human papilloma virus, are associated with cancer of the cervix in women, for example. See your doctor to get specific advice in your case.



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