Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Red bumps around vagina


Red Bumps
Red Bumps  
QUESTION: I have noticed recently I've been getting quite a few red bumps around my vagina area. I Some look like pimples but nothing comes out of you try to squeeze it. They're not painful and I haven't had any other symptoms, but I'm afraid it might be genital warts, or some other STI. One is kind of like a skin tag but its red, the rest are more like pimples. Should I get this checked?

ANSWER: Hello Kate,
The larger dimpled bump may be Molluscum contagiosum, caused by a skin virus that is essentially self-limited (meaning it may go away by itself without treatment).  It could also be a hair bump (you have shaved in the area), or retained sebaceous (oil) gland. It does NOT look like HPV/warts.

Apply moist heat to the area 2-3 times daily, and if  you wish, an antibiotic cream or ointment, and avoid shaving with a razor for awhile.  It should heal up within a few weeks.

Good luck!

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

Genital bumps
Genital bumps  
QUESTION: I've still been getting these bumps, and have a couple larger ones. One is a bit painful. Is this anything I should be worried about

Hello Kate,
These new set of bumps look more like small pimples, and applying moist heat to the affected area, followed by some antibiotic cream or ointment, should help them go away. Nothing to worry about, except that they may be uncomfortable before fully healing! Avoid using a razor to cut the hair, and try a "buzz clipper" so the skin won't be injured.

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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