OBJECTIVE: To determine whether patients with genital warts carry human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA on their fingers. METHODS: 14 men and eight women with genital warts had cytobrush samples taken from genital lesions, finger tips, and tips of finger nails. Samples were examined for the presence of HPV DNA by the polymerase chain reaction. RESULTS: HPV DNA was detected in all female genital samples and in 13/14 male genital samples. HPV DNA was detected in the finger brush samples of three women and nine men. The same HPV type was identified in genital and hand samples in one woman and five men. CONCLUSION: This study has identified hand carriage of genital HPV types in patients with genital warts. Although sexual intercourse is considered the usual mode of transmitting genital HPV infection, our findings raise the possibility of transmission by finger-genital contact.
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