Sexually Transmitted Diseases/HSV II & HPV Transmission Inquiry


QUESTION: Dear Mark,

I have a strange question.  I am in a majick community that sometimes uses cakes.  Like a communion for church.  Sometimes people will use semen and menstrual blood as elements of these cakes.  They do inform people they have done that if they use them outside of themselves.  Before I ask these questions, these people did not know they were infected when this happened.  My question is if the woman has HSV II and a high risk HPV strain and someone eats her cake that was made with menstrual blood, could the person become infected with HSV II and/or HPV that way?  How about the semen?  If the man also has HSV II and likely also has the high risk HPV, is it possible to pass one or both of those along through his semen that is in a cake?  These cakes are baked in the oven.  Probably not very long.  10-15 min.  Probably at around 300-350 degrees.

I deeply appreciate your time into my inquiries.  You are very generous with your time to this online community.
Thank you,
35 years old
Oklahoma City, OK/United States

ANSWER: Hello Star,
I'm sorry, I am unfamiliar with the "majick community" or the use of "cakes" in the manner in which you are using the term. Semen and menstrual blood are considered biologic agents that have potentially infectious agents, including hepatitis, herpes, HIV, and other agents (ebola, for example in certain geographic areas).  Heating usually detoxifies most infectious agents, but whether 300-350 degrees is enough to render potential viruses and other pathogens uninfectious, I cannot say.  My guess is that virology and microbiology references may provide such information. Steam autoclave units are effective for sterilizing MOST but not all pathogens, but operate at increased pressures, steam, and temperatures around the 270-290 degree range.  This is more toxic than dry heat from an oven, but cannot say how much more.

Sorry I cannot be more helpful!

Good luck!

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QUESTION: Dear Mark,

Thank you very much for your reply.  I apologize that my message was somewhat unclear.  I do have some follow up thoughts to make sure I understand.  When referring to cakes, imagine small cookies.  The only infectious agents I am worried about are HSV II and HPV.  At least for the menstrual blood, I have been tested for everything else and do not have anything but the two listed.  I do know that the menstrual blood and semen potentially carry these two viruses.  Typically, these two viruses need some kind of skin to skin contact, rubbing, and so forth.  Let's say hypothetically the oven did not kill the viruses-if that were the case, would someone who didn't previously have the viruses get them from eating these cookies?  

Also, I am not sure I understood the message you were trying to deliver by saying, "This is more toxic than dry heat from an oven, but cannot say how much more."  I am not sure what you meant with the more toxic.  I am wondering if you were trying to say this is more or less effective at getting rid of these two pathogens than the oven?  And if that is what you were trying to say I am wondering which one you meant...more or less?  :)  Also, do you  know how long they would usually run the autoclave for in order to render it sterilized?

Thank you again for your guidance and I do find you incredibly helpful.
My deepest gratitude,
35 years old
Oklahoma City, OK/United States

ANSWER: Hello Again, Star,
Live viable virus from herpes, HIV and other pathogens-- if not inactivated by the high heat, would be inactivated by stomach acids, assuming open cuts or bleeding areas inside mouth.  Highly unlikely for viruses to cause infection inside the mouth. This also assumes that the heat from the oven was not sufficient to render the viruses inactive (incapable of causing infection).   

Steam autoclave as a method of sterilization is far more effective than dry heat from baking temperatures.   Normally, a steam autoclave operates at around 270 degrees at around 30 pounds per square inch (of course the actual pressure differs based on the altitude where you live... sea level up to a mile or higher elevation! around 1300 feet in Oklahoma City).  

However I don't think you need to be concerned about such potential for infection.

Good luck,

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Mark,

Thank you very much for your reply.  I am sure I know the answer, but I am just double checking for my peace of mind.  You stated "Live viable virus from herpes, HIV and other pathogens."  Since you state other pathogens, I believe that resolved my answer; however, you stated HIV and I was referring to HPV, so I just wanted to make sure your same thoughts would apply.  Is that right?  I have heard about HPV in the mouth and HSV is sometimes on the outside of the mouth(the cold sores).  But, with the mode of transmission being cooked "little cookies"  you don't think that is a concern for HPV (not HIV) or HSV?  

Also, from what I can tell from what you are saying, the only risk might occur if there were adhesion's in ones mouth/esophagus lining?  I wish I knew science because I have to say, I am honestly surprised.  I figured ingesting blood/semen that has HSV or HPV in it would mean it's now infecting others.  What did make me think maybe not, is that these viruses seem to need certain criteria for infection.

Ok.  Well I was wondering if I needed to notify those that had some of these cookies.  It's a rare spiritual practice that people participate in and I didn't know I was infected and want to make sure I didn't pass it along in this way.  So, from what you are saying, you don't think I need to tell them?  I want to do the right thing, even if it's embarrassing.  :/

After this that should be all on this topic.  I am just dotting my i's and crossing my t's.  Also, thank you for explaining the autoclave.

My deepest gratitude to you,
35 years old
Oklahoma City, OK/United States

Hello Again, Star,
You are correct, in that "other pathogens" refer to not only HSV (herpes), HBV (hepatitis), and HIV (AIDS) but also HPV (warts/condyloma).  Not "adhesions" which are scar tissue, but abrasions, which are cuts or scratches in the mouth, gums, esophagus, etc.

All pathogens, whether they are bacteria, viruses, protozoa, fungi, etc., have certain tissues that they prefer to infect and colonize. Ingesting blood/semen or other bodily fluids that are insufficiently cooked (denatured) increases risk of infection.  Raw or undercooked beef (tartare, etc.), pork, poultry, fish (sushi, sashimi), and other creepy/crawlies (snails, etc.) may transmit parasites or other pathogens that may be harmful to people.  What I can't be certain about is what temperature for inactivating such things is recommended for human bodily fluids!

Good luck!

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Mark P. Behar


Almost any question or concern about gay men's health issues, sexually transmitted infections, abnormal Pap smears, anal cytology (anal "Pap smears"), etc. There is no such thing as “d/d free” or “clean” (free of infection), so why do so many of us deceive ourselves into thinking that some people are indeed totally free from a potentially infectious disease, like HIV, herpes, hepatitis, syphilis, chlamydia, warts, gonorrhea, etc., just because they say so? Clinical laboratory tests are not perfect, and having a “negative” or “nonreactive” test does not mean that a person is free from infection. Perhaps at the moment the test was taken, the person was uninfected; or, perhaps, the test wasn’t sensitive enough to detect presence of the infection. There is really no way that anyone can determine that they are truly “disease free,” and there are over a hundred of infectious conditions that can be spread without your knowing anything. Rather than trying to “pre-screen” or “serosort” a potential sex-mate with deceptive questions that are impossible to know by today’s technologies, a wiser option may be to consider everyone infected with something, and either use appropriate protective measures (“safer sex”), or accept the responsibility and consequences of possibly “catching” something from someone who’s hotter than expected (pun intended!). There is much research that supports the contention that an HIV positive person reliably taking HIV medications, and having an undetectable viral load, presents a lower risk for transmission of HIV than people who may think or say they are HIV negative, but are not. Food for thought!


Family Practice PA since 1981; Volunteer Clinician for Brady East STD (BESTD) Clinic, Milwaukee, since 1977; answered STD questions submitted to their web site. Professionally lectured at national and regional Physician Assistant and Nurse Practitioner conferences, and at national gay & lesbian health conferences on topics including HIV/AIDS, herpes, hepatitis, STDs, human papilloma virus (the cause of venereal warts), abnormal Pap smears, gay and lesbian health issues, among others.

Co-Founder, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Gay Physician Assistant Caucus of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Inc.; American Academy of Physician Assistants; Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants; National Co-Chair (2012-16), National Association of Black and White Men Together: A Gay, Multiracial Organization for All People (NABWMT)

Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (JAPA) Q Visions, Quarterly Newsletter of the NABWMT

Bachelor's of Arts, 1972 (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI) Graduate Credits Experimental Psychology, 1972-75 (Tulane University, New Orleans, LA) Physician Assistant, Bachelor's of Science, 1981 (George Washington University, Washington, DC); Masters in Physician Assistant Studies, 2000 (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE)

Awards and Honors
Colposcopy Recognition Award (CRA), the American Association of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology; Distinguished Fellow, Clinical Preceptor, American Academy of Physician Assistants; Fellow, Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants

Past/Present Clients
Brady East STD Clinic, Milwaukee, WI Milwaukee Health Services, Inc. (Martin Luther King Heritage Health Center), Dept. of Family Medicine and Early Intervention Program for HIV Infected Persons

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