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Can HSV infection be contracted through non-penetrative sexual activity?

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Posted on Tue, 15 Dec 2015
Question: So I have started a relationship with a girl and last night things got carried away and I used my hand and fingers on her both running and actual fingering. Now I'm concerned that she could have spread herpes to my fingers. Now she claims to me that she is clean but I also know that a lot of people have herpes but don't really know it, and there's also that possibility that she could have lied to me. My question is how at risk am I to develop herpetic whitlow on my fingers from doing that with her last night if she happens to have genetial herpes hsv 1 or 2? Whether she had sores or not I'm not sure as I did not look. I have included pictures of my fingers just so you can see what shape they were in. I not notice any inflammation or cuts on my fingers but I can't be sure. I do have some hangnail tore skin places but I'm not sure how deep they go. I'm just really scared and paranoid now. Also I don't know if it makes a difference or not but I do get cold sores on my lips every now and then. Have been getting those off and on for about 5 years now. I've never been tested to see if it is hsv 1 or 2. I'm not sure if that makes any difference or not.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Kakkar S. (18 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
There is a risk of herpetic whitlow but it the risk if not quantifiable

Detailed Answer:
Hello. Thank you for writing to us

I have gone through your query and I have understood your concern.

There is definitely a risk for herpetic whitlow, from fingering, assuming she had genital Hsv.
There is no quantification as to the exact risk for herpetic whitlow from contact with an infective surface or mucosa, but in general the risk is less for whitlow as compared to the more common form of Hsv infection i.e genital herpes.
For any type of transmission, the risk for transmission of herpes virus is greater if someone has active sores of herpes and less at other times.
Previous oro-labial herpes (i.e cold sores) does not protect you from a new infection at a different site such as a herpetic whitlow, except that it can make an episode less symptomatic.

Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Kakkar S. (2 minutes later)
So how honestly worried do i need to be and how cautious do i need to be about what i touch with my hand over the next few days, weeks, and months?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Kakkar S. (8 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
I advice you to be careful only if you develop an episode of whitlow

Detailed Answer:
Hi.

To be XXXXXXX there is not much to worry unless you develop lesions suggestive of herpetic whitlow, when there is a risk of innoculating Hsv at other sites.
Asymptomatic shedding is not much of a risk with a whitlow as it is with genital or oro-labial herpes. Mucosa is different from skin and can shed virus asymptomatically whereas skin unless it has an active episode i.e skin is broken cannot shed virus asymptomatically.

Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Kakkar S. (2 minutes later)
When will i know im in the clear with this and know i didnt contract herpetic whitlow? Ive seen anywhere from 2 days to 5 days to 7 days to 14 days to 20 days to 30 days.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Kakkar S. (4 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Incubation period of herpes is 2-10 days

Detailed Answer:
Hi.

Incubation period of herpes is 2-10 days. So, you can assume that 10 days is the time period to watch out for. After that I don't think there is anything to worry about whitlow.

Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Kakkar S. (3 minutes later)
So 10 days from last night if i have not developed any symptoms i could consider myself safe from whitlow from that particular incidence?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Kakkar S. (3 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
whitlow is usually manifest soon after infection

Detailed Answer:
Hi.

Yes, that would be safe to assume.

Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Kakkar S. (5 minutes later)
You also said that with my prior episodes of cold sores on my lips it could make the whitlow less symptomatic, will it still be symptomatic enough that i will obviously know what it is? I dont want to mistake it for something else and spread it to my eyes or my own genitals or to someone else's
doctor
Answered by Dr. Kakkar S. (3 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Whitlow presents with discrete, grouped, fluid filled vesicles

Detailed Answer:
Hi.

It would be less symptomatic but it would be distinctly like herpes i.e grouped, discrete, fluid filled vesicles.

Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Kakkar S. (1 minute later)
So i will still know for sure that it is infact whitlow? This is teally scary to me
doctor
Answered by Dr. Kakkar S. (2 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Presentation of whitlow is distinct

Detailed Answer:
Hi.

Yes, of course. You can go through a few Images online.

Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Kakkar S. (2 minutes later)
Im scared and paranoid now that i am going to develop this. I have alot of stress anxiety from getting them on my lips a few times a year now i am terrified i will develop it on my fingers from saturday night sexual expierence.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Kakkar S. (8 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Expect the best

Detailed Answer:
Hi.

Don't expect the worse. Hope for the best.

Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Kakkar S. (1 minute later)
Im trying to, its just i deal with alot of anxiety because i already get them on my lips now im scared its spread to my fingers
doctor
Answered by Dr. Kakkar S. (16 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Follow up with me if any suspicious lesions arise

Detailed Answer:
Hi.

I wish all will be ok. You can follow up with me, along with an Image, if in case you develop any supicious lesions over the next 10 days.

Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Dr. Kakkar S.

Dermatologist

Practicing since :2002

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Can HSV infection be contracted through non-penetrative sexual activity?

Brief Answer: There is a risk of herpetic whitlow but it the risk if not quantifiable Detailed Answer: Hello. Thank you for writing to us I have gone through your query and I have understood your concern. There is definitely a risk for herpetic whitlow, from fingering, assuming she had genital Hsv. There is no quantification as to the exact risk for herpetic whitlow from contact with an infective surface or mucosa, but in general the risk is less for whitlow as compared to the more common form of Hsv infection i.e genital herpes. For any type of transmission, the risk for transmission of herpes virus is greater if someone has active sores of herpes and less at other times. Previous oro-labial herpes (i.e cold sores) does not protect you from a new infection at a different site such as a herpetic whitlow, except that it can make an episode less symptomatic. Regards