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Could I have a STI?

I’m only 15. I was in a serious relationship for two years with this guy but out of anger I let another guy perform oral sex on me. I haven’t had sexual intercourse for over 5 months but now am starting to think I have herpes because my vagina has been very irritated and red and maybe a little swollen. I have looked at pictures of herpes but what I see doesn’t look the same. Do I have an STI? Does this sound like herpes?

Trying to figure out what symptoms mean can really make people nervous, because some of the symptoms of herpes and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) seem the same. This makes it all the more important that you visit a health care provider if you think you have an STI.

What you described doesn’t necessarily sound like typical herpes symptoms, but it is still important to go see your health care provider. It’s okay to tell your health care provider that you’re really worried about herpes. You may want to ask for a herpes NAAT test if you have any open sores or bumps on your genitalia. Some providers may be able to do a blood test to see if you have herpes.

Other tests for chlamydia, gonorrhea, or even a yeast infection, could help you understand your symptoms, get the right treatment, and help put your mind at ease. While it is possible to get genital herpes from oral, vaginal, and anal sex, the only way to know for sure is to get tested for herpes and other STIs. Getting everything checked out can also be a good time to plan how to be safe and healthy the next time you have any kind of sex.

—J. Dennis Fortenberry, MD, MS
Indiana University School of Medicine