All of Your Sex Questions, Answered

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Can my husband's hand warts spread to my genitals?

There’s a small risk, but it’s highly unlikely. Hand and genital warts are caused by different strains of the human papillomavirus, or HPV. (Most strains are harmless.) On rare occasions, though, the strain of HPV that causes warts on hands can indeed cause warts elsewhere. To be extra-safe, have your husband wear thin latex gloves during any sex play until his warts are gone. (He should treat them with over-the-counter salicylic-acid medication; if they persist, he should see a dermatologist.) Even after that, make sure you don’t have any cuts, nicks, or open sores down there—these can spread HPV even when all warts are gone. The HPV vaccine is no help in this case: It protects against separate strains of HPV and is not recommended for women over age 26.

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