Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions
Could this bump on my penis be an STD...even if I tested negative?
I’m really worried that I have genital warts. I have a fleshy, raised portion of skin next to my urethra. I haven’t been sexually active for almost three years since I had a one-night stand when I didn’t use a condom. The symptom showed up about a week after sex. It doesn’t itch. I got tested for all STDs recently and all the tests were negative...including the test for HIV. My doctor also said that the bump looks normal and the STD clinic said it looks like scar tissue. What’s your opinion?
Ruthann M. Cunningham, MD on September 20, 2011
First, I commend you for monitoring your health. That said, you might be worrying for no reason.
It sounds like you’ve taken all the right steps. You were concerned about STDs, so you got a panel of STD tests that ideally included chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes 1, herpes 2, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and syphilis...as well as HIV. You also went to an STD clinic for a visual evaluation for genital warts...that’s great because only an in-person visit with a healthcare provider can ensure accurate diagnosis of genital warts. As long as you were tested for STDs within an accurate testing window, it would seem that you are indeed STD-free.
To find out for sure what the bump is, I encourage you to visit your doctor for a visual examination. It may not be an STD, but you may still need treatment and only a healthcare professional can offer you the right care.
And the next time you have sex, remember to use protection. Using a latex condom will minimize your risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection during oral, vaginal or anal sex. And if you perform oral sex on a woman, I suggest you use a latex dental dam.
Remember, there are several STDs that can be passed orally...not just through vaginal or anal sex.
For more information about STD prevention, risk factors and symptoms, see our Expert Guide to STD Basics.
Thanks for writing...I wish you continued good health and peace of mind.
Dr. Cunningham is a member of the Analyte Physicans Group. She's also a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, practicing at both Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital in Illinois and at Wheaton Franciscan All Saints Medical Center in Wisconsin. An ER physician since 2000, she regularly treats patients with STDs. Dr. Cunningham was educated at Wayne State University School of Medicine and completed her Emergency Medicine residency at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, IL.