Hi, I had a sexual encounter 26 days ago. I now have my first ever cold sore which began 20 days after the encounter - it is fairly mild, and above my upper lip. I have no clear visual symptoms of genital herpes but is it unlikely that I could have avoided this given that I now have a cold sore on my face and received a very brief bout of oral sex (one quick mouthing - not much saliva)?
Would genital sores have appeared before now? I have read that 2 - 20 days is typical. I can't be sure but one side of my penis aches and an area of skin beneath my foreskin could be a darker red colour than normal. This started maybe yesterday.
I intend to have a blood test for HSV1 and 2 but have been told to wait for 6 weeks after the encounter. Also, if I develop no obvious symptoms of genital herpes is it true that it will not be possible to know if I have a genital infection if I test positive for HSV1?
I would greatly appreciate some expert opinion regarding my concerns.
I have never had a herpes blood test so I don't know my status prior to the cold sore but I'll give some background if you'd be kind enough to read on. A couple of years ago in the past after receiving unprotected oral sex I developed a small solitary lesion after two weeks (a red raised area similar to an insect bite) in the area of my pubic hair which initially felt tingly. I had it swabbed at a GUM clinic and tested for herpes and it came back negative. I don't know the exact testing method. The lesion didn't stay around for long (maybe 4-5 days), it didn't blister but it left a very small scab. It was not painful or particularly itchy. There didn't appear to me to be any moisture in the lesion in order to collect a useful swab sample (but I'm no scientist).
This type of lesion/pimple in the pubic area occurred on two or three occasions and lasted about 4-5 days each time. I got another one of these occurrences swabbed and tested, this time via my GP, and it came back negative for herpes. This has not occurred in at least the last 18 months.
Chances are this isn't herpes. We do get bumps down there from time to time. HSV-1 is common even some people will never recall having a cold sore in their life.
The sad part to herpes is that the swab isn't collected soon enough it won't come back positive. No way to tell if it was false or not. If you went in 24-48 hrs after it showed up chances are it was actually negative. The swab doesn't need fluid to find out if it is herpes. The swab can be rubbed on the lesision.
Lesion cultures are notoriously falsely negative. At this point, seek out a type specific herpes igg blood test at the appropriate time and go from there. If it's only hsv1+, only thing you can do is wait and should you get a return of genital symptoms, be seen within 48 hours of their appearance for a repeat lesion culture and exam.
it's my understanding that in the UK, you need to seek out type specific herpes igg at private clinics and pay for it out of pocket.
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