HPV: Transmission & Disinfection


  • Human papillomavirus
  • Small non-enveloped DNA virus
  • Physically stable and resistant with long durability
  • Most sexually transmitted disease worldwide
  • Over 200 different types identified
  • HPV classified into high-risk and low-risk types


HPV is associated with skin infections:

  • These result in non-cancerous skin growths (warts).
  • Infections in genital area are associated with genital or anal warts.
  • Mouth papillomas (benign epithelial tumours).

Chronic infections of the cervix with HPV 16 and 18 causes cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and leads to cancer.

HPV is found in about 99% of cervical cancers.

  • More than 70% of these are caused by HPV types 16 and 18.

HPV is also responsible for other anogenital cancers and oropharyngeal (throat) cancers.

HPV type 16 is responsible for up to 60% of all HPV-associated cancers.


HPV is spread predominantly through sexual intercourse.

Other routes of transmission include:

Vertical transmission:

  • From parent to offspring.
  • From mother to embryo, foetus or baby during pregnancy or childbirth.
  • At fertilisation via infected oocyte or spermatozoon.

Horizontal transmission:

  • Via fomites.
  • Through kissing or hand-genital contact.
  • Through medical procedures such as colposcopy and transvaginal ultrasonography or ENT procedures.


Nosocomial transmission via:

  • Medical devices which enter cavities such as transvaginal or transrectal probes or laryngoscopes.
  • Medical surfaces – HPV retains 30% of its infectivity even after dehydration for 7 days.

Transvaginal probes are routinely protected by a condom, which acts as a physical barrier to contamination.

Studies have shown that 0.9% – 5% of the condoms get punctured during procedures.

It has been shown that low-level disinfection does not remove all HPV DNA from infected probes.

HPV DNA has also been found present on sterilised medical instruments used in patients with HPV genital tract infection.


  • 2012 study found that 7.5% of transvaginal sonography probes (TVS) were HPV + in A&E.
  • 2011 study found of 198 samples, 7 (3.5%) were HPV + in gynaecology department after endovaginal ultrasound procedure.
  • Same study also found that HPV was found in 6 out of 216 (2.8%) samples before procedure.
  • Using a similar technique another 2012 study found 7.5% of the samples were HPV positive.
  • 2014 study found HPV negative mothers had infants with HPV.
  • Out of 11 commonly used disinfectants -only 0.525% hypochlorite (bleach) and 1.2% PAA-silver worked!


Commonly used clinical disinfectants, including those used as sterilants in medical and dental healthcare facilities have not been working. This has been noticed by various health authorities and policy changes concerning disinfectant use has meant that the need for high-level disinfection has become more pronounced. Tristel offers the level of disinfection needed to get the job done!


  • Chemistry is safe to patient, staff and environment
  • Unblemished Health and Safety record of over 20 years
  • Effective against a wide range of microorganisms due to oxidation properties
  • Microorganisms are unable to build resistance against chlorine dioxide
  • Decontamination process is fast by industry standards (within minutes)
  • Excellent material compatibility
  • Compliance with local and international regulation
  • Simple, portable and affordable


  • Chlorine dioxide (ClO2) is a powerful oxidant and eliminates microorganisms through oxidation.
  • Oxidants are substances which remove electrons from other atoms.
  • Chlorine dioxide ‘steals’ electrons from microorganisms disrupting the cells. This leads to cell death.
  • Chlorine dioxide inactivates viruses by inducing oxidative stress.
  • ClO2 inactivates Poliovirus by reacting with the viral RNA and impairing RNA synthesis.
  • ClO2 inactivates Influenza virus through specific oxidative modifications of specific amino acids residues on specific proteins.


  • To maintain and potentially expand it’s share of the market Tristel must keep pace.
  • This includes testing new diseases or updating products with changes in regulatory testing method/standard.
  • It is better to survey, anticipate and prepare for changes than tackle them as they arrive.
  • Changes are anticipated for HPV


  • Testing has been performed with Duo ULT and Trio Wipes System against native HPV 16 and 18.
  • This testing has demonstrated that both of these disinfectants are effective.
  • Duo ULT and Trio Wipes System are based on chlorine dioxide chemistry which inactivate viruses by reacting with the viral RNA and impairing RNA synthesis.

To read the full HPV presentation or to find out more information, please contact the Tristel Science team: science@tristel.com

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