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herpes outbreak?
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herpes outbreak?

Almost two weeks ago, I was diagnosed via blood test to have HSV I and II.  I have had mouth sores since I was a child (HSV I, I assume) but no real symptoms that I have noticed for anything in my gential (genital) area.  I have no idea how I got HSV II.  Since the diagnosis however, I have been looking at myself, poking, prodding, twisting, wondering--is that a vesicle?  is this an outbreak?  I went to my doctor, showed him a sore that I had, right near where I had pinched myself worrying that a follicle was a vesicle, and he said "no.  just chafing in a difficult spot."  It went away, and I felt better. But I kept poking and prodding.  I then got two more sores, similar to the first--a little redness maybe, no wetness of any kind, like a tiny depression, alone, no clusters--but again, I got them right next to the places where I kept poking, prodding, looking.  They are not near each other--opposite sides of penis shaft, just below head--and one of them, in a less chafed spot, healed.  The other is driving me crazy.  I am just about to go on vacation in France with my wife--we have been together for five years--I do not want to infect her, but I don't know if I am even having an outbreak, or if I ever have.  I may be an asymptomatic shedder or someting.  When I showed my doctor the first sore, he said "I can't even really culture this," and when I asked if I should go on VAltrex, he said that I was probably going way overboard.  What can I do?  Is it likely that I am having an outbreak, or that I am simply causing chafing?  And I do worry 24/7 about this--it is making me very depressed....
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Number one, I would check to see whether the tests you had were type-specific.  Older tests are not reliable at distinguishing types.  You can look at a list of such tests at www.herpesdiagnosis.com.  If there is any doubt, or perhaps just to possibly give you peace of mind, I would repeat the herpes 2 test.  Labs make mistakes at times.

Second, assuming you do have herpes 2 antibodies, then you may be shedding virus without symptoms. If so, you have been exposing your wife for years, and the chances are she's already been exposed. Even people who know they have herpes don't wear condoms the rest of their lives if they've been married.  The risk of transmission is higher if you have an active lesion.  Which brings me to...

Third: Herpes is a cluster of blisters, not an individual bump of the sort you're prodding and poking.  Valtrex may lower the shedding rate a bit, but does not eliminate a small risk of transmission,

It is time for you to get some clarification and get past this.  Please check on the accuracy of the testing (why was it even done)  Next, if the test is confirmed, meet with a herpes expert who can counsel you and your wife so you can get on with your lives.

Best.

Dr. Rockoff
4 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Not that it helps your situation but I know how you feel, I was depressed for some time when I thought I had it.  And not being a religous person I had to find strength elsewhere.  Couldnt even count on family because they pretty much outcasted me.
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Avatar_n_tn
Doc, it was a HerpeSelect test from Quest Diagnostics.  I requested the test because I thought I saw something unusual, and I figured, why not just take the test and be sure.  My Doc had assured me that it was nothing, but was willing to give me the test anyhow.  Should I take a retest?
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Avatar_n_tn
Get a re-test.  What's the harm?  I initially tested positive for HSV2 with HerpeSelect and was retested.  The second test came back negative.
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