Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question.
First, don't feel singled out or especially unlucky that you had genital warts at one time. Up to a quarter of all people have them at one time or another (not counting others who had them but never noticed).
More important, I think it's unlikely your current genital bumps are warts. I'm especially doubtful if there are lots of them, they're very small, almost all the same size, and if none have the typical "cauliflower" appearance of warts. The vinegar test is poor; it often misses HPV-infected tissues, and many things that turn white aren't warts. Further, as you seem to understand already, it isn't common for warts to recur after so many years.
To your specific questions:
1) It takes at least 2 months and usually 3-12 months for visible warts to appear. It is unlikely you could have new warts from your new partner.
2) 30% to 70% is a pretty good estimate for the proportion of regular sex partners of people with genital warts who develop warts themselves. I usually advise around 50%. But of course there's no risk if your bumps aren't warts.
3) Any HPV type can cause a positive vinegar test -- but it's a lousy test for all types. I always recommend that it never be used for self-testing .
4) I would recommend against imiquimod (Aldara) or any other treatment unless and until the diagnosis of warts is confirmed. Treatment of any kind would risk making future diagnosis much more difficult.
A second opinion probably couldn't hurt, either from a gynecologist more familiar with warts than yours appears to be, or a dermatologist. If there still is any doubt, a biopsy would tell for sure. But in the meantime, try not to worry; probably you don't have warts.
Best wishes-- HHH, MD
I'm probably just being hyper-vigilante because I've had warts. So I will look into seeing a dermatologist but out of curiosity what else do u think would cause small bumps they are multiple on that part of the vulva small flesh colored pink not painful? i have had fordyce spots on the labia but these look to me more like mini cauliflower warts.
Thank you so much I have read many of your other posts and I don't feel alone in this but it can be inconvenient and anxiety producing nonetheless
I'm glad to hear you understand you aren't alone and seem a bit less anxious than many forum users. Still, I suspect you're sensitized by anxiety and examining yourself to closely and are seeing normal micro-anatomy, such as mucus-secreting glands. Can you feel them, and is it a change from the way it felt before? If not, probably not warts.
Another clue for you to consider: warts are never symmetrical. If the appearance and pattern of the bumps is more or less the same on both sides of the affected areas, warts are very unlikely.
Also, you've had genital warts before. A recurrence would usually look and behave pretty much the same. Is this like your previous episode? If not, look to another explanation.
Anyway, let me know the outcome after you've seen a dermatologist.
I went to the dermatologist and the good news is that i do not have genital warts but i do have lichen sclerosus. well I am relived I'm also slightly concerned about how this will progress. She placed my on a steroid cream so hopefully it will improve. Its just odd that I've probably had this for a while according to the dermatologist and my symptoms and my OBGYN didn't see anything as abnormal.
Lichen sclerosis isn't serious. I have no comment about treatment -- we only do STDs! But thanks for the good news. Best wishes.