HPV transmission risk

Who knows

This is regarding french kissing for about 5 min.

The woman had radiation for cervical cancer at 20, and a hysterectomy for reoccurance, recently at 35.
She said the cancer tested positive for all 13 high risk strains. The 15 year reoccurance tells me that she never cleared the virus. I have read that approximately 33% of women with cervical hpv, also have it orally.

I am now panicked that the chances of contracting oral hpv that may lead to head and neck cancer are astronomically high for me. My great grandmother died of throat cancer.

I understand the body clears 90% of infections.....but, is it likely to clear 13 high risk strains, at once?

I also read that there is only a 20% chance of transmission between a sexually active couple, over the course of 6 months.

What do you feel the risk was, from 5 min open mouth kissing? I do not know if she has oral hpv. If she did, from self inoculation, would cancer be expected in the H/N , as it was present in the cervix?

What do you believe, regarding the body clearing 13 high risk strains, at once?

Thank you!

JanineT GRACE …
Posts: 606
GRACE Community Outreach Team

Hi and welcome to Grace. I'm not sure if Dr. Weiss has specifics on risk data but I've emailed him for his input.
I hope a long kiss doesn't add a significant risk to you developing cancer.
All the best to you,

I joined GRACE as a caregiver for my husband who had a Pancoast tumor, NSCLC stage III in 2009. He had curative chemo/rads then it was believed he had a recurrence in the spine/oligometastasis that was radiated. He's 10 years out from treatment.

dr. weiss
Posts: 206

I am not an epidemiologist, virologist or infectious disease doc, but I can share some relevant information.
The first is that it would be very, very, very unusual for a cancer to test positive for 13 different high risk HPV strains. I see a high volume of HPV+ head and neck and can't remember the least time that I've even seen two. Another possibility is that a probe that detects, but doesn't differentiate 13 strains was used, and was positive.
The second is that HPV is not a sexually transmitted disease so much as a sexually associated infection. It is omnipresent--pretty much everyone not raised in a monestary/nunnery from the age of 5 has had exposure. It takes an unhealthy dose of bad luck, in addition to simple exposure, to get an actual cancer.
Finally, while there can be HPV transmission by "deep kissing" the dominant mode of spread is oral intercourse.