I am a 27 year old male. A few weeks ago I had unprotected sexual contact (oral, genital rubbing), followed by protected intercourse, with a partner who's sexual history I am unsure of. About a week after, in the process of moving, and a long distance drive to visit family, I started to feel an itchy, "surface" pain on my right thigh. Almost like an ingrown hair or pimple forming. I thought nothing of it, but 2 days later I had a patch of what appeared to be zits on my right butt cheek (a bit larger than a silver dollar). They did not hurt but were itchy, and again I didn't think much and attributed it to poor eating habits and stress during the move. The next morning, I woke up with a sore and swollen lymph node on the inside of my right thigh, in the groin area. I went straight to the clinic, where the doctor told me it was most likely shingles. He did not take a swab, gave me a prescription for Valtrex, told me to take some ibuprofen for the pain, and sent me on my way. The valtrex seems to have helped, and the sores are almost all gone, though some remain as flat, red, itchy ovals. The lymph not is no longer swollen.
All was fine and good until I went to the STD clinic yesterday for a piece of mind screening. The nurse there, upon hearing my symptoms and seeing the patch of healing sores, gave me a funny look and said it sure sounds like herpes to her... But of course, couldn't be certain.
I am extremely worried as to whether or not I have shingles or herpes, and don't like he thought of waiting for another outbreak before I can find out. Is there anything I can do or anyone I can see to find out more??
I have to agree with the first nurse who was suspicious for herpes vs. shingles. And I think your concern about your new partner is legitimate. If you do have herpes, you could have it for years, it isn't necessarily new, unless the first woman you described was your first-ever sexual partner. Genital herpes outbreaks can show up anywhere from waist to mid-thigh. It was a mistake for the first clinician not to swab test the area of sores and another mistake that no type specific antibody testing was done. I would strongly encourage you to find a place to get type specific testing for herpes type 1 and 2. Please stop having contact with this new woman until you get some clearer answers, or at least consider that. If you are unable to get testing from your regular provider, you can do this online with accuracy.
I should add that while the sores were tender and sore, as well as mildly itchy, I don't think I experienced anything I'd describe as severe pain (as seems to be associated with shingles). The swollen lymph node was by far the more uncomfortable symptom.
Furthermore, while the patch of sores did only occur on one side of my body, it was a circular patch as opposed to a linear group (following a nerve pathway).
Side note, I also underwent cryotherapy during the STD screen for some genital warts she found, but I believe those have been present for months if not a year or more.
I went to the clinic again today and a new nurse made me feel better, and said it does seem more likely to have been shingle than herpes. Also went to a walk-in clinic to request a type specific igg test, but the doc refused and didn't seem to concerned about herpes over shingles either.
Other than the one moment of foolishness, I've always only engaged in sex with long term partners who's sexual history was known. I know that's not a foolproof satement at all, but just some more background that I don't consider myself high risk for std's...
My biggest concern is not for myself, but for the girl I've just started seeing at the tail end of my "shingles" outbreak. We've had a few nights of unprotected sexual contact, but no intercourse. I am SO worried that I may have unknowingly given something to this wonderful person who I'm just getting to know, and who trusted me enough to be intimate with. The irony is that, if she hadn't convinced me to get STD screened before we move on to sex, I'd still be in the dark about all of this.
I live in Canada and so far both the STD clinic and the doctor at the walk-in clinic I saw, were unwilling to request a blood test. Their reason was there were no open lesions.
How can I do this online.
FYI I wet back to the clinic yesterday and saw a new nurse who helped me feel better and after looking at the spot and hearing my story, said it seemed more like shingles to her as well. The doc at the walk-in didn't seem concerned either. Could this merely be because they feel there's nothing to be done unless I have another outbreak?
Do they not care that *if* it is herpes, I could be spreading it asymptomatically and not even have another outbreak?
Both the nurse and the doctor are incorrect about making an accurate diagnosis of this rash via blood test. The blood test looks for antibody not virus, so there is no need for an outbreak to be present for a test to be done. I'm not sure if any of the online testing services are available in Canada. But yes, they are fine, and if you can't get your doctor to do it, I would recommend that you get tested online rather than not at all.
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