Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions

Anonymous on September 16, 2011

It looks like a have a pimple on my vagina...but could it be herpes?

My boyfriend and I have been together for almost two years. Before we had sex for the first time, we both got tested by our doctors for STDs and all the tests came back negative. I also just saw my gynecologist for my yearly exam and all the tests came back normal. This week, I noticed a bump that looked like a pimple on the outside of my vagina. It caused some pressure so I popped it. Now it is healing. Should I be concerned about herpes, or was this just a pimple?

answered by Terri Warren, MS, RN, ANP on September 16, 2011

Thanks for sharing such a detailed account of your sexual history and symptom. Also, I commend you and your boyfriend for being so responsible about your sexual health by getting tested before having sex for the first time. 

Now, about the bump on the outside of your vagina...while I can’t diagnose your symptom without an examination, here are some thoughts for your consideration: 

Should you be concerned about herpes? Well, that depends on which STDs you and your boyfriend were tested for...not all testing panels automatically include herpes. However, if you and your boyfriend were tested for herpes, and you both tested negative by a type-specific antibody test for HSV-1 and HSV-2, and if you’ve been in a mutually monogamous relationship, then you don't probably don't need to worry about this being herpes. 

In other words, if these conditions hold true, the pimple was probably just a pimple...especially if it popped when you squeezed it. It could also have been a harmless cyst.

That said, I encourage you to visit your doctor to find out for sure. And you might want to continue getting tested for STDs yearly as part of your routine sexual health program...and make sure that the type-specific HSV-1/2 IgG blood test is included in the testing panel. Why? Because there’s always a small risk of a false-positive or false-negative test result. And confirming your original test results will put your mind at ease. 

If you test negative for herpes and other common STDs and your symptom comes back, I encourage you to see your doctor to examine the bump. For more information about herpes testing, treatment and prevention, see our Expert Guide to Herpes 1 + 2

Thanks again for writing to us, and I wish you good health.

Related Info: 

Terri Warren, MS, RN, ANP

Warren is a Nurse Practitioner and owner of Westover Heights Clinic in Oregon. She is a renown expert and author in the field of genital herpes research, diagnosis and treatment. Warren was educated at Oregon Health and Sciences University and the University of Portland.

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