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Dr. Hunter Handsfield

Infectious Disease
Seattle, WA
54 years experience male

Locations

No current practice; not available for in-person outpatient care

Seattle, WA

Address

Harborview Medical Center, 325 Ninth Ave, Seattle, WA
Directions

University of Washington Physicians

Seattle, WA

About

Bio

I have had a 40 year career at the forefront of STD diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and research, and in prevention of HIV infection, as Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the University of Washington Center for AIDS and STD, and former director of the Seattle-King County STD Control Program. In 2010 I was honored to receive the Distinguished Career Award from the American STD Association, the nation's most prestigious recognition of professional contributions in STDs. I frequently serve as an expert advisor to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on STD/HIV policies and clinical guidelines and recommendations, including the quadrennial national STD treatment guidelines and CDC's current guidelines for routine HIV testing.

Specialties
Doctors may have more than one area of specialty interest. Board certification in a specialty area means the doctor has completed formal training and has practice experience in that specialty, and has passed the certification examination from the corresponding accredited medical specialty board.

Infectious Disease

Public Health

Sexual Health Practitioner

Doctor Q&A

11K Answers
688 Agrees
The number of answers this doctor has agreed with.
A 26-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
You misunderstand HSV diagnosis. If a doctor ordered these tests, so does s/he. PCR isn't used to diagnose new HSV infection. The IgM HSV test is use... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 22-year-old male asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Many possibilities: The large majority of penile or genital area rashes and skin problems are not STDs of any kind. Some conditions primarily involve the genitals and oth... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 38-year-old male asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
LGV diagnosis: If you have sex only with women, don't worry about LGV. In the entire US, there have been only a handful of cases in women and straight men in the pas... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 36-year-old male asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Your doctor is correct: you do not have HIV. CD4 testing is never appropriate to attempt to diagnose HIV. It should only be done in people known to h... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 25-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
If you had proper testing for trichomonas -- i.e. a DNA/PCR test -- you can be sure you don't have it. Metronidazole (Flagyl) treats trich as well as ... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 34-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
All the ingredients of Biofreeze spray are harmless. Nothing to worry about.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 32-year-old male asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
"HIV symptoms" are useless in judging whether or not someone has HIV, because the identical symptoms occur with many medical conditions, mostly harmle... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 21-year-old male asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
If this occurs more prominently during sleep or when resting, maybe restless leg syndrome. Google it for more information and see if the symptoms fit ... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 18-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Confusing question. Yeast infection is not treated with metronidazole (Flagyl). Your doctor is treating you for something other than yeast (unless you... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 29-year-old male asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
That is absolutely not a concern. There is no biological reason to suspect such a problem, and absolutely no data that this happens. Please get vaccin... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 26-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
For a genuinely high risk exposure (like unprotected anal sex between men, or unprotected sex with a known infected partner), start with an RNA test f... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 26-year-old male asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
No, of course not.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 33-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Repeat question: the previous reply was accurate. Vaginal yeast infection is an unlikely cause of such symptoms. If nausea and fatigue continue, see ... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 23-year-old male asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
This is zero risk for catching HIV. It seems you need training about laboratory safety in order to understand what kinds of exposure could be risky an... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 44-year-old male asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
There is no other name except chlamydia.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 26-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Don't believe everything you find online! M genitalium is the only one of these that frequently causes health problems, and its only proved problem is... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 31-year-old male asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
There is a difference between "bioloigcal effectiveness and "use effectiveness". The second takes human behavior and mistakes into account. Properly u... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 22-year-old male asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Probably conclusive for both. However, more useful advice might be available if you would like to describe the nature of the exposure.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 66-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Neither this nor any other drug causes colorless or gray stools. The main cause is gallstone, blocking bile from the intestine. Usually there are othe... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 33-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Vaginal dryness does not cause yeast infection, but it can make the genital area more sensitive to irritation from friction during sex, causing sympto... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 21-year-old male asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Genital herpes: If "few" means more than one lesion; they started as blister like, now turning more like pimples; then becoming scabs -- then almost certainly it's he... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 21-year-old male asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
You have hepatitis B and have had hepatitis E, which also might be active. You need tests to determine how active your HBV infection is, whether it is... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 18-year-old male asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
If small white bumps, without surrounding redness, and all over the shaft of the penis, then probably they are not pimples, just normal skin glands. T... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 30-year-old male asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Herpes acquisition: Oral herpes is mostly acquired in childhood, typically from nonsexual contact with another infected child, or sometimes from an infected parent. It al... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 25-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Should work OK: Some people's stomaches are quite sensitive to chlamydia; you seem to be in this category. But if it's more than 30 minutes after taking the drug, alm... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 37-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Not from that test: Most people with HIV have normal blood counts; your recent test says nothing about whether you have HIV. You need an HIV test if possibly at risk or o... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Both treatments OK: Doxycycline and azithromycin are equally effective and routinely recommended. Your bf was a bit overtreated; 7 days doxy is sufficient. Any other part... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 23-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
It takes time: It can take several weeks for tonsils enlarged from infection to return to normal size. Sometimes they remain enlarged for even longer. It's nothing t... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 33-year-old male asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Confusing info...: Having to stop exercise after only 4 minutes because of these symptoms usually would not be considered normal and suggests impaired exercise tolerance... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 30-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Not reliable: If you have had a positive urine culture for a bacteria known to be senstivie to amoxicillin, it will work very well. However, many bacteria that caus... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 20-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Herpes?: "Chancre" implies syphilis, but that's currently rare in h heterosexuals in the US, where most syphilis is occuring in gay men. The most common cause ... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 21-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
HIV transmission...: ...is highly variable. Many partners remain free of infection after years of regular sex with infected people. Others are infected after only a few ex... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 33-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
No need to wait: You can take the fluconazole (Diflucan) whenever you like, the sooner the better. Good luck!
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 29-year-old male asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Complex, unusual: HSV can cause nerve-related symptoms, but usually doesn't destroy nerves, so I would expect recovery. However, this is an unusual and complex problem.... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 20-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Any azole product: You should check with your doctor's office about this; they might be able to prescribe something else that's covered by your insurance or less expensi... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Chlamydia treatment: Proper treatment for chlamydia is 1 gram (1000 mg) azithromycin (Zithromax) in a single dose; you should have taken both pills at once. And you should... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 18-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Tongue papillae?: Everyone has a row of 7-12 large (2-3 mm) papillae across the back of the tongue, called circumvallate papillae, perhaps what you have noticed. Google... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 19-year-old male asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Different symptoms: Genital herpes causes blisters and sores, chlamydia does not. Chlamydia usually causes dishcarge from the penis, sometimes with slightly painful urina... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A male asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Maybe not ringworm: The palms are an unsual location for ringworm. Probably it's something else. You'll need to be examined professionally to determine the cause. In the ... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 29-year-old male asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Very unlikely: These tests would not be likely to detect anal cancer. If you have a bump on or near your anus, pain, or anal bleeding, see a doctor. Without those, t... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Get rechecked: This sounds unusual for lymph nodes. Return to the doctor, or get a second opinion. Good luck!
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 18-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Vaginal discharge: Any new or significantly changed vaginal discharge, without obvious cause, should be professionally examined. There are many possibilities, but colore... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 19-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Oral herpes: Oral herpes is not often transmitted unless there is an obvious cold sore outbreak. It can happen, but uncommonly. Also, saliva alone is not very like... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 21-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Immediate to days: It is also called penicillin VK. Some side effects could be immediate (minutes or hours), e.g. skin rash if allergic. Gastrointestinal symptoms like l... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
UTI: Group B streptococcus is a normal bacteria in the female genital tract. It can cause urinary tract infections, but not often. If you're having UTI sym... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
UTI?: These are typical symptoms of a lower urinary tract infection (UTI), i.e. bladder infection. UTI is especially likely if you also have frequent or urg... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 36-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Minutes to days: Dangerous, life-threatening allergic reactions like anaphylaxis or angioedema typically start within a few minutes of exposure. Other allergic reactio... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 29-year-old male asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Counseling needed: You have posted several questions about such fears. HIV cannot be transmitted via swabs, nurses' gloves, etc. Apparently you are irrationally con... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Don't to it!: Antiseptics and soaps should never be used in the vagina. Never douche with anything: douching always is unhealthy, unnecessary for hygiene (the vagi... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
A 19-year-old female asked:
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Infectious Disease 54 years experience
Very rare: Yes, very rare. See replies to your other questions. Please do your own research to educate yourself about HPV. Two good resources are the Centers for... Read More
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.

Testimonials
Recommendations and Thank you notes are endorsements given from patients or other doctors.

81
Recommendations
6.7K
Thank you notes
Dr. Handsfield is an outstanding doctor of infectious diseases. He has years of clinical experience and is well respected in his field. I would trust him to care for any family member of mine! Keep u...Read More
Aug 25, 2015
Dr Hunter offers excellent patient advice on a broad range of medical topics in a clear and concise manner. His insightful replies to other Health Tap physicians infectious disease questions is much ...Read More
Oct 27, 2014
Dr H.Hunter Handsfield is an excellent physician he is passionate physician the top of his field and very knowledgeable
HealthTap member
This made me feel good. Thanks! The stress on “slightly” helped. I was checking all my labels for calcium. I was worried about having eggs & cheese for breakfast with my medication. This helped. What ...Read More
HealthTap member
This made me feel good. Thanks! Thanks Sir.. But the Sweating and sticking of hands and foots isn't going. Body Temperature is always high, Sweating in armpits, groin. I feel so frustrated. Can I get ...Read More
HealthTap member
This made me feel good. Thanks! Thank you so very much! I had convinced myself that I had every symptom noted. I am also so excited you were the one who answered my question after weeks of being on th...Read More

Education & Training

Medical/Graduate school

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, NY
Graduated 1968MD

Residency

University of Washington Affiliated Hospitals
Completed 1971

Awards

Distinguished Career Award (formerly the Thomas Parran Award), American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association, 2010
Silver Award, International Union against Sexually Transmitted Infections (IUSTI), 2007
Top Infectious Disease Specialist , Second Place, National - Fall
2014

Affiliations

American Sexually Transmitted Disease Association (Executive Committee, Past President)
Fellow, Infectious Diseases Society of America
Associate Editor, Sexually Transmitted Diseases journal
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