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suspect infection
Dec 11, 1996

i was tested for HIV 5 months and two weeks after a possible exposure which came back negative, but suspect i may have been infected by genital warts. I have some painless white spots at the side of my pennis. There are only 2 spots. I intend to have a kid with my girlfriend in 1997, and don't want to infect her, and want to make i am clean so that i don't infect her. I have decieded not to see a doctor, because i am too embarassed. Could you please refer me to a webcite or specfic books with pictures of Genital warts. You say they are like coliflower, but I want to see them.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

I do not know of a website that has pictures of genital warts. However, it's critically important that you don't diagnose yourself based on pictures. Genital warts can appear differently in different people. They can look like cauliflower, tumorous growths, or little bumps (but not blisters). If you think that you may have genital warts, see a physician or clinic ASAP. An STD clinic would be a good place too, since they see this disease all the time. If you have unprotected sex with your partner, you can then infect them. Because genital warts is caused by a virus (Human Papilloma Virus--HPV), once a person is infected, there is no cure. This is why we stress prevention so much. And HPV is linked to several forms of cancer, especially anal and cervical cancers, and to a lesser extent, penile cancer too. Embarrassment is understandable, but not a reason to expose others to your possible infection. See a doctor, or go to an STD clinic. Don't try to diagnose yourself. You need to see a trained health care professional to diagnose this infection. And this can only be treated by a health care professional. Don't try to treat this on your own! We cannot cure the infection, but we can treat the symptoms. I must strongly emphasize that you cannot diagnose yourself based on pictures in a book, or on a website. You must go to a physician and/or a clinic to be properly diagnosed. This is a serious infection that is not to be taken lightly, especially since some strains of HPV are linked to cancer. Don't let your embarrassment prevent you from seeing a health care professional. You're talking not only about your health, but your girlfriends health as well. Think about it!

If you have any further questions please e-mail me at "nvhotline@aol.com" or call me at 1-800-842-AIDS.



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