Sex Advice

Dear Dr. Locker: Most of my sexual encounters are unprotected. I notice a pimple like bump on the outside of my vagina. Could I have an STD or HIV?

Answer from Dr. Locker

Yes, you certainly could have a sexually transmitted disease (STD). I say that not just because you see a pimple, but rather, because you are having unprotected sex. Anytime anyone has sex without a condom, the person is at risk for contracting any STD or even HIV/AIDS.

As far as what your pimple might be: There is a chance that it could simply be a pimple. Non-threatening cysts or pimples can appear on the genitals. However, a pimple-like bump on the genitals could certainly be a sign of genital warts (HPV virus), herpes, or syphilis. You must go see a doctor right away, because you have had unprotected sex, and because you notice a symptom that could indicate a sexually transmitted disease.

Please do not be afraid. Just make a doctor's appointment and go see the doctor. Ask a doctor to test you for all STDs (including the HPV virus which can cause cervical cancer), and get a pap smear. Ask to discuss the HPV vaccine, too. Discuss with the doctor if you should also get an HIV test. In addition to talking with you about STDs, ask your doctor to talk to you about birth control. If you are not protecting yourself against pregnancy, you will get pregnant! Be sure to be honest and tell your doctor that you have been having unprotected sex. You will need to stop having unprotected sex, and a lecture from a doctor may help you. My lecture is done, except to say that I want you to go out to buy yourself condoms right now! Good luck with your doctor’s appointment, and with improving your sexual health.

PS: If you do not have a doctor, and do not know how to get one, then call Planned Parenthood's main number, and they will help you find a doctor in your area. The call is confidential, and if you go to the Planned Parenthood it is confidential, too. 1-800-230-PLAN (1-800-230-7526)

In the future, in addition to always having protected sex, you should have regular, annual gyn exams. To read more about that, check out my answer to this question: * What goes on at an annual gynecologist exam? I have my first appointment for my first pelvic exam, and I am not sure what to expect.


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