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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Have shingles. Blisters appeared on thigh. Why I am positive for HSV-2?

Answered by
Dr. Rajiv goel


Practicing since :1998

Answered : 577 Questions

Posted on Mon, 24 Dec 2012 in Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Question: I am 53 yr old and have not been sexually active for 20 years. I am regularly (probably yearly) given an STD screening (I guess that's normal). I had shingles in October of 2008 and December of 2008. In February of 2009, I saw a nurse practioner because I had blisters that had developed on my thigh. She declared them to be HSV-2; ordered a blood test, and took a swab, all of which she claimed came back positive (scaring the crap out of me). Then in April, it was time for a routine screening, and everything came back "normal XXXXXXX No doctor has ever brought it up, even though my lab tests often include 7-8 vials of blood. Could shingles or something else created a false positive? How could I have genital herpes if 1) I'm not sexually active and 2) they weren't even near my genitals?
Answered by Dr. Rajiv goel 4 hours later

Thanks for the query.

From the description of your symptoms and the location of lesion it appears that you had shingles (secondary to varicella zoster infection in childhood; chicken pox). Varicella zoster infection can persist in human body once you have had chicken pox and it can get reactivated at any point of time and cause symptomatic painful blister.

Herpes can also persist in the body once you have been infected and it can be there in your body ever since you were sexually active. More importantly, it shall not be picked up in any blood test. However, the herpes lesion has to involve mucous membranes; hence it should have been close to your genitalia. Therefore I favour the first possibility.

You should stop worrying about the herpes and as already explained, in all probability; it was shingles secondary to varicella zoster infection.

Hope this answers your query. Let me know if you need further assistance


Rajiv Goel

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad

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