HPV Transmission

It's been assumed that HPV can only be transmitted by contact with the surfaces that the virus lives on, such as the skin or membrane layers known as epithelium. Many gynos will translate epithelium for the patients to be "skin like" because it has many flat layers. Knowing that the virus likes these surfaces, it's the genital tract surface is where we think the virus lives. The location of the virus can explain then the way transmission has most likely occurred. But recently it has come to light that HPV is one of the most common infections in semen. In Italy, and reported in the Andrology section of the November 20011 issue of Fertility and Sterility a group has now reported, that 1/10 young men, who have no symptoms at all, will have HPV detectable in their semen. Exactly what this new information means is confusing. For instance will this be a risk for women getting donor insemination, and how would it affect the quality of the sperm themselves, and can the processing techniques for donor insemination eliminate this infection. Currently it is thought that HPV infection of semen is not a problem for fertilization, but more of a risk of transmission to an uninfected partner. Currently there are still no HPV tests for men. So the strategy has to be to vigilantly screen female partners. So as we move to doing less frequent routine pap smears, it would be important to perhaps continue to screen those getting donor insemination on a yearly basis.

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