Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions

Anonymous on September 20, 2011

A had drunk sex with a girl and now I have three scabs on my penis. Could I have HIV?

A girl and I had sex the other day. I was so drunk that I was just rubbing my penis on her pubic hair before we actually had sex. Now I have three little scabs on my penis where it rubbed her pubic hair. The scabs itch like any scab that is healing. Could they be an HIV virus even though the girl said she was a virgin?

answered by
Lisa Oldson, MD on September 20, 2011

Thank you for your question.

When you have symptoms like the ones you describe, it’s always best to rule out STDs rather than that assume your symptoms are something minor. Why? Because, if left untreated, STDs can not only be spread to other people, but eventually cause more serious health problems.

You’re right…scabs or sores on your penis are a concern. But the symptoms you describe aren’t a common sign of HIV. In fact, people infected with HIV generally don’t show any symptoms at first…especially not so soon after exposure to the virus. Then, within two to four weeks of exposure, some people might develop flu-like symptoms or swollen lymph nodes.

Penis scabs or sores are more likely a harmless side-effect of vigorous rubbing...but they could also indicate that you have or genital warts or herpes. In fact, one might suspect genital warts if the sores you're seeing are painless and irregularly shaped, like a little cauliflower. Genital warts can also be smooth and flat.

Genital warts are very common and are caused by some types of the human papillomavirus (HPV)…even if your partner was a virgin, she might be positive for HPV since vaginal intercourse isn't the only way to spread genital warts. Other risk factors for catching HPV include oral and anal sex, or unprotected skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. The only way to know if you have genital warts is to visit your doctor for a visual exam.

There’s also the possibility that you have genital herpes, which can be marked by pain, itching or other discomfort in the genital area. Often genital herpes begin as small blisters in the genital area that break open into small red sores.

Bottom line: I encourage you to see your doctor and get tested for common STDs...it's the only way to know your STD for sure. As well, I encourage you to see your doctor who can evaluate you for genital warts and can help you with appropriate treatment, if needed.  

If you do have genital warts or herpes, you’re not alone. In fact, one out of six Americans has herpes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And genital warts are common, too.

While herpes isn’t curable, proper treatment can effectively manage your symptoms and allow you to enjoy a normal sex life. And HPV, the cause of genital warts, is generally cleared by the body within five years. For more information about symptoms, testing and treatment, visit our Expert Guide to Herpes 1 + 2 and HPV Overview.

Finally, it sounds like you may have had unprotected sex, which ended up causing you some stress...in future, I encourage you practice safer sex to reduce the risk of STD transmission. Using condoms and dental dams goes a long way to keep you and your partner(s) safe and healthy.

Lisa Oldson, MD

Dr. Oldson is Medical Director of the Analyte Physicians Group. She is on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as Clinical Instructor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Her areas of expertise include STDs (with a particular clinical emphasis on herpes), women's health, preventive medicine, diabetes, obesity and weight management, and mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Oldson was educated at Rush Medical College and completed her residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

Related Q&A's

Could I catch genital warts if I masturbated after fingering my girlfriend?
My girlfriend has HPV...is there a test for men to find out if I have it too?
Is it possible to have genital warts inside the vagina? What’s the treatment?