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What are the chances of contracting herpes after having unprotected sex with HSV-1 positive person?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 5133 Questions
Hello, I had unprotected sex and oral sex about 3.5 weeks ago. Last week I woke up with a very itchy penis and assumed it was a result of me shaving which I did and do. However, a red patch formed where the itch was a small bump appeared. It got bigger when I pressed or irritated it. I thought it was a pimple. It's still there and it has been a week. I also had a burning/stingy pain in my penis throughout the day after this bumped appeared. I saw 2 doctors and both quickly ruled out herpes I guess based on visual inspection. They prescribe Cipro for the pain which helped and then a anti-fungal cream for the bump and itchy area. The bump isn't going away and it was raised today when I messed with it again. I took a HSV/HSV2 IGG test and was both negative. But I took that during these symptoms and after 2.5 weeks from that sexual encounter. I know I need to wait to test again, but does my case sound like herpes. The pain after the bump formed is gone but I still worry that the itchiness and bump is a sign of herpes. It has not blistered or turned into a ulcer by any stretch. More importantly, the girl I had this sexual encounter with got tested same time as me and she was positive for HSV-1. She said she has had a rash on her forehead like 3 times in her life, last one 3 years ago and that's why she has that. My question is, do I have herpes based on above, and is it possible I contracted her forehead/herpe 1 virus on my genitals. Everything I read says yes, but my doctors are telling me no. I'm not convinced. Help!
Posted Tue, 7 Jan 2014 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Unlikely to be Herpes Detailed Answer: Hi and thank you so much for this query. I am so sorry to hear about all that has happened to you since this unprotected sex encounter. From the description of symptoms that you have reported it is unlikely that that this should represent genital herpes. It is rare for lesions to be single during an initial outbreak. Also, these lesions are rarely itchy. They normally progress from a bump, to a fluid filled cavity that burst and gives way to a very clean ulcer. This is not typical of what you are describing. Coupled with tests that are not in favor of herpes, I will not want too think so. I understand the heightened worry about herpes might have also been about the positive test your partner has. This test needs to be interpreted careful. There are positive tests which signify a past infection and a positive test which signifies an active infection. Even if the testds were positive for an active infection, you need to come in direct contact with an active lesion in order to get contaminated. All of this is absent and I lack evidence to make enough arguments in favor of herpes. Please, refrain from constantly manipulating this bump. That in itself is sufficient to make healing a lot more difficult and lead to complications. I am sure you can bear testimony to the disturbing thoughts associated with unprotected sex. Please, always consider protection during sexual intercourse to save yourself some of these worries in future. For now, follow up with the prescribed treatment. Ease your mind on the constant thought that this could be herpes. Even if it were herpes, it is not a fatal disease and most people overcome it without treatment. So, why are you so scared to death??? I hope you find the above information helpful. I wish you well. Thank you so much for using our services and please feel free to request for clarifications and more information if need be. Dr. Ditah, MD.
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Follow-up: What are the chances of contracting herpes after having unprotected sex with HSV-1 positive person? 2 hours later
Dr. Ditah, Thank you for your response. It aligns with what my doctors have told me. I just took a IgM blood test today. I was told this can detect a recent infection more accurately than the IgG test can since antibodies take more time to show on a Igg. Did I waste my money? Can I have peace of mind if that comes back negative considering the symptoms and minor pain I have had to this point? Also, in your experience how long from getting the virus does someone notice something is very wrong? Is pain a major factor? It seems based on your answer that most always its followed up with a lesion that turns into a blister or open sore. Has that been the universal situation with patients you have seen that have contracted the virus? Im trying to formulate peace of mind because this situation has never happened to me until now. I want to know what to look out for based on your exerience. Thanks for your response.p
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 2 hours later
Brief Answer: See below Detailed Answer: Hi and thanks for following up with me. 1. You didn't waste your money because it will provide more objective information to probably set your mind at peace. That would be very helpful because you are increasingly worried despite assurance and reassurance. IgM are the first antibodies to be produced during and infection are would be the best bet now if any thing were to be positive. If this test should return negative, something I highly suspect, please refrain from seeking any further medical investigations related to herpes infection. 2. I have seen a few with not so typical clinical presentation and evolution in my 5years of clinical practice. However, they all had a strongly suggestive history of exposure and confirmed by laboratory findings. What even makes it more concerning in your case is the fact that there is no real exposure, typical clinical findings and absent laboratory evidence to make it more likely. I hope these provide responses to your worries. Keep a cool head and get the results back, Keep me updated as well if that is something you would love to consider. I wish you the best of possible outcomes. Thanks. Dr. Ditah, MD.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What are the chances of contracting herpes after having unprotected sex with HSV-1 positive person? 2 days later
Dr. Ditah, Please view and anaylze my attached and let me know your thoughts. Its been two weeks and I still have this on/off itch on my penis from this light pink/brown lump and is long in shape. Does that look like herpes? It hasnt filled with any fluid, burst, or turned into a lesion in the two weeks it's been present, but it's very concerning. I managed to calm the itch with an anti-fungal cream but I keep fearing it's herpes. I also attached a picture of my inner thigh that has like 3 pimples with a hair growing out of each. It's flat with no fluid. Not even raised, just look like pimples. I fear this is a herpe cluster of some sort. I get my IGM results tomorrow, but I would really appreciate your feedback from my photo. What do you think this is if not herpes? My pain is gone thanks to Cipro, but this rather long irriatated area is not. Please advise.
Answered by Dr. Chobufo Ditah 23 hours later
Brief Answer: THis cannot be herpes Detailed Answer: Hi ad thanks for following up with me. These lesions in no way are suggestive or herpes. i will be very surprised if the test were to suggest that this is herpes. This looks very much like a very non specific skin infection that needs no specific attention. Keep it clean and stop messing with it. It should be okay. I hope you find this helpful. I wish you well. Thank you so much for using our services and please do feel free to ask for clarifications or more information if need be. Dr. Ditah, MD.
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