STDs Expert Forum
Vinegar
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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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Vinegar

Hello
I have read on the internet that if you apply vinegar to genital warts, it will turn the area white. If vinegar does turn an area white, does it mean it is HPV for sure? or does vinegar turn any skin abnormality white? Also, if an area that seems to look like warts doesn't turn white, does it mean it is not warts?

Thank you
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The vinegar test is lousy--so bad that most STD experts don't use it themselves to diagnose warts, and I especially recommend that lay persons not use it to diagnose their own HPV infections.  Things that aren't warts can turn white; and many wart-involved areas don't turn.  Once in a while the test may be useful in truly expert hands, e.g. some dermatologists.  But in general the only legitimate use of the vinegar test is during colposcopy, i.e. magnified examination of the cervix in women with abnormal pap smears.  In that setting, the test helps identify areas of the cervix from which to take a biopsy or to treat by laser, cautery, etc.

Best wishes--  HHH, MD
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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