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Genital Warts and Vinegar test.
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The STD Forum is intended only for questions and support pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital warts, trichomonas, other vaginal infections, nongonoccal urethritis (NGU), cervicitis, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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Genital Warts and Vinegar test.

Tomorrow I have an appointment at a family dermatologist, but I would really like an expert opinion before I go tomorrow.
About a week a go I noticed a small smooth bump i've never seen before near the rim of my penis head. It is not rough but instead slightly raised and smooth. When I noticed it it was reddish pink, now later in the week it is flesh colored and seems less noticeable. Almost like it was swollen and now has gone down.   I was a little worried so I called the dermatologist for an appointment. I was worried because my ex-girlfriend and I were having unprotected sex when we were still together about six months ago (I have no reason to believe she had any std's). I wasn't jumping to any conclusions because I've had pearly penile papules since I was a teenager so I thought maybe its a new one. (I'm now in my mid 20's) I've also had small patches of eczema or psoriasis since I've been a teenager as well. I've had that affect my penis and it would get irritated during masturbation.

Anyways, after reading about genital warts I read that vinegar will turn them white. So I soaked a paper towel with white vinegar and wrapped it around my penis for about 9 minutes. The smooth bump that had me worried did not turn white but I had some small white spots appear on my shaft and head. That got me nervous and thats why I'm writing hear now. Could these be genital warts? Also the dermatologist office has me seeing the physicians assistant. Is this ok? is the PA going to give an expert opinion? and are there any questions I should ask them, like asking them to do a biopsy on one of the suspected areas?
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Welcome to the forum.  Thanks for your question.

By description, your penile bump doesn't sound like a wart.  You should follow through with your appointment in the dermatology office to judge what you have, but I doubt it will be a genital wart.  Don't worry about seeing the PA.  Most PAs in specialty offices are excellent in diagnosing and treating the common conditions; s/he undoubtedly will consult with the dermatologist if there is any question about what is going on.

As for the vinegar test, your story is an excellent example why it should never be done!  Despite the common advice like you found on the web, the vinegar test is very unreliable.  Even most dermatology offices rarely use it, and we never do it in my STD clinic; even in highly trained hands, it's a lousy test.  Not all HPV lesions turn white, and many skin spots that whiten are not HPV.  Of course you should discuss this with the PA and/or dermatologist -- but don't assume you have warts on that basis.  And don't request a specific test, such as a biopsy.  Just relate your story to the PA then follow his or her advice about next steps.

I'll be interested to hear the outcome after your dermatology appointment.  Please return at that time with a follow-up comment.

I hope these comments have been helpful.  Best wishes--  HHH, MD
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