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warts on lips-less kissable? Dangerous?
Aug 25, 2000

Just met another HIV+ type a few weeks ago and we clicked big-time. He's just beginning combo therapy and is relatively healthy - a few rash problems and occasional fatigue - the usual stuff that will resolve as the meds do their thing. However he has three warts on his hot lips that are just now being evaluated by an HIV-savvy dermatologist and the biopsy results are a few weeks away. They are not small and have plagued him for many months. His doc thinks he may have spread them himself when he bit into a wart on his finger and unconsciously chewed on it for awhile, bleeding onto his lip and, perhaps, into his mouth. There are no internal lesions according to him.

My biggest concern is his, as well: can warts be spread through semi-lustful contact? Lip-to-lip. How about kinda lustful contact? Lip-to-er, well - you get the picture. His doc's preliminary assessment was that I am not likely to be at risk, but both my nifty new friend and I are not taking any chances and the distance we've kept from one another is strained, but of course is necessary right now.

But what is your experience with lip warts and warts in general? I realize until the diagnosis is in, keeping one another at arm's length is prudent, but overall, what's the deal on these critters? I've had little ones over during my ten diagnosed years that I've effectively treated with an otc Compound-W equivalent, but my friend's are of a different order.

Response from Dr. Henry

Warts are generally caused by viruses that can spread by direct contact/innoculation with spread more likely with more intense contact and perhaps breaks in the skin/mucosal surfaces. I have not encountered many cases of "epidemic" warts in the situation you described. Prudence would suggest that getting your friend's warts under control and making sure that your lips are as healthy as possible (few cracks/moist) should minimize the already low chances for transmission.

Keith Henry, M.D.

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