Dear Dr. Resnik,
About 15 months ago I had my first sexual encounter. I haven't been with anybody since. About 5 months after this encounter I noticed these little white dots on my upper lip and on both sides of my lip going into my inner cheeks. When I rub my tongue against my inner cheek on both sides it feels rough. When I look at them in the mirror they look like little slightly raised specks. They don't hurt and don't appear to have spread or anything. I also have swollen glands in my neck, on and off for about 7 months now but I have very bad sinus problems which I'm assuming is the cause of the swollen glands. My question is...Are these white specks on my lips/inner cheek HPV or a sign of HIV? Should I be worried? I have no health insurence at this point, I haven't gone for testing, its easier said than done. I know this is a long question. I will state that I used a condom during intercourse but received oral and didn't wear a condom for that. I also used to bite my lips & cheeks a lot. I'm just going nuts over this. I love your website, it does a lot of good for all. Thank you Dr. Resnik.
First of all, what you have described does not sound like HPV or oral warts caused by HPV. It does sound like you are describing fordyce granules, which are a part of the normal anatomy of the buccal mucosa (cheeks). Second, oral warts are not a sign of HIV infection as they appear in the general population as well.
Now to address a bigger issue: "I have no health insurance at this point, I haven't gone for testing, its easier said than done."
There are numerous sites throughout the country which offer anonymous HIV testing services. Health departments, AIDS Service Organizations offer counseling and testing as well. The recently reauthorized piece of federal legislation known as the Ryan White CARE Act offers treatment, services and access to antiretroviral medications for people who have no other means of affording care.
I, first hand, know the anxiety associated with HIV testing. I will honestly admit that there was a long period of time where I avoided this test. There have been such remarkable improvements in the management of HIV/AIDS over the past several years, that we have seen a decline in the opportunistic infections and mortality associated with HIV/AIDS. People living with HIV/AIDS are re-entering the workforce. The key to living with HIV is to know your status early and if appropriate, begin treatment.
I hope this helps!