I'm concerned about meningitis symptoms that appeared suddenly after unprotected sex. About two weeks ago, I had unprotected sex with a new partner. The sex went on for some time and I became rather chafed as a result. Six days later I suddenly developed a terrible headache, sore throat, and stiff neck. But I did not have a fever. I have noticed some sensitivity to light and fuzzy thinking over the course of the week. After seven days my symptoms are now improving and advil now helps my heachaches.
However, I realized my symptoms are similar to viral meningitis and in my search for causes I read about the connection to HSV-2. I have been tested for both HSV-1 & 2 in the past (6 years ago) and was negative. I also have never had any visible sores on my vagina or on my mouth. However, now reading that HSV-2 causes symptoms of aseptic meningitis, I'm really scared that I contracted it from this previous sexual encounter. The timing just seems too perfect. So my questions are:
1. Does aseptic meningitis caused by HSV-2 usually present with genital lesions/sores (i.e. do sores always come first)?
2. If I do have aseptic meningitis due to HSV-2, will that mean that I will eventually develop genital lesions?
3. How high is my risk of contracting HSV-2 from one encounter of unprotected sex?
4. Should I go get a spinal tap to figure out what is going on?
In my experience, most people who contract HSV 2 and have aseptic meningitis due so with genital sores. I recall one person who did not, in 30 years. So it is possible but no likely
If you have HSV 2, you may be able to identify symptoms in the future, yes.
The risk of acquiring HSV 2 at one encounter is very low, certainly less than 1 in 100, maybe more like one in 1000.
You should NOT get a spinal tap at this point, no. Goodness no. Besides, you are better now, right?
The best strategy here, in my opinion, is to try to get the partner tested for HSV 2. If the new partner is negative and you've tested negative in the past before this partner, then this isn't HSV 2 aspetic meningitis.
Certainly other things can (and more often do) cause headaches and the symptoms you describe. I wouldn't jump to asymptomatically acquired genital herpes as my first choice.
Can you arrange to get the partner tested? I would offer to pay for it to make it easier and more palatable for him.
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