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Possible Herpes Exposure - please help
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Possible Herpes Exposure - please help

I am a 25 year old female. I’ve been freaking out for the past few weeks about the possibility of Genital Herpes. I have not had sex since Aug 2011 and I have been tested since then, so I know I didn’t have anything prior to this encounter.
2/18/12: I had “sexual contact” with a male friend (no condom). It was NOT intercourse, but basically he was rubbing his penis around my anus/buttocks. It lasted about 5 minutes. Then he ejaculated. I was unaware for a minute. The semen was all over my upper thighs and inside my buttocks. A few minutes later I jumped in the shower and washed it off. We were at a vacation home and I used random soap that was there.
Having a very wrong idea of STD transmission, I was worried about the body fluid. A small amount could have gotten inside. Then, I read that merely skin-to-skin contact can spread HSV. Less than 24 hours later, (about 18 hours) I noticed a small red rash on the buttocks. At that point I flipped out. The paranoia unleashed and I decided to take a Plan-B in case any of the semen did get inside the vagina from behind.
2/19 – 2/21: At home about a day or two later I noticed a tingling and slight burning sensation inside the buttocks, the exact same area that had contact with his penis. This sensation occurred for about 3 consecutive days only at night. I also felt a slight burning on the backs of my legs. This could have possibly been caused by new soap I was using, I was staying at my parents’ house and I washed the area.
The rash grew a bit and appeared on the buttocks and thighs. It was red and blotchy.  After reading about herpes online I was very convinced I had it and the emotions were awful. I had panic attacks and did not eat or sleep.
2/22: I went to my PCP and she took a close look at the rash. She said with strong confidence “okay that is NOT herpes! It looks like a heat rash.”  “Usually we take a sample of sores but there are no sores to swab. Come back if you have symptoms.” I got the blood test and went on my way.
I still wasn’t relieved because of everything I was reading online. Some cases can be very mild and some people don’t even have symptoms. I thought this rash could be a mild symptom. I also noticed a few small red dots on the buttocks area. They never formed into sores and seemed to kind of come and go. The rash was in fact very mild but my mind was sick with fear.
2/24: Blood test negative (they said my "tighters" were negative). I know this doesn't mean much of anything except I didn’t have it before, since it takes several weeks for antibodies to be detectable. Unable to cope with the anxiety, I called the doctor again and they referred me to OBGYN. He took a close look at everything and said the exact same thing. “I can tell you right now 100% that is NOT herpes.” He said I noticed the rash “too early” and typically symptoms appear within 7 to 14 days. He offered other explanations such as the new soap. As for my other symptoms (general malaise, loss of appetite) he said those are all emotional. Once he said that I felt relieved and those emotional symptoms got better. He gave me topical fluocinonide cream and told me it should resolve within about a week.
I applied the cream to the area and it caused a tingly sensation. It seemed to help reduce the redness.
2/28: I had shaven my vaginal area with a disposable razor one week prior. When the hair started growing back I noticed a small red bump. I usually get irritation after shaving (small red areas) but never before had I noticed an actual raised bump. It was tiny, red and circular. It went away after a few days. This was a concern since I had never had an actual raised red bump after shaving before.
3/2: I had been applying the cream for about a week. I was worried because I got a very dry crackly somewhat painful feeling in the inside of the buttocks next to the anus. Then I read that fluocinonide cream should not be applied to sensitive areas such as the groin or near the anus. It should have just been the outside of the buttocks and that’s probably what had caused the irritation. This dryness and slight discomfort lasted about five days and then fully resolved.
3/9: After another self-inspection of the buttocks area, I determined that it still looked a little red and bumpy. I did notice other tiny patches of redness which seem to come and go. I wondered if that is just normal and I have sensitive skin.
3/18: Now, four weeks later, I have come down with a nasty cold/flu. I am sneezing, I have a sinus headache, swollen glands in the neck, a low fever (99.1), general aches, and back pain. I am back to freaking out. I know that flu-like symptoms can be a sign of genital herpes. The illness was mild for one day and the next day I can barely get out of bed. I am hoping this is a coincidence. I know it is a bit late 4 weeks / 29 days after possible exposure (symptoms typically appear within 2-20 days). Still though, I am struggling with horrible anxiety. All of these symptoms are very coincidental.
Summary: Rash, small red bumps (not sores), one small red raised bump, mild fever, fatigue, general malaise, aches.
The anxiety and stress could be a factor here.
As for the guy’s history, it was like pulling teeth to get information from him. He told me he had sex with a “slutty” girl at the beginning of the summer 2011 so he decided to get tested was tested back in Oct 2011. He said he DID wear a condom and hasn’t had unprotected sex in years. I asked him to call and make sure they actually tested for HSV which apparently he called and they did, it was negative. He also said he has never had any symptoms. IF he is telling the truth, I know the chances are low. Even if he does have it, he would have had to be shedding the virus at that exact time. I read it is only like a 10% chance. However those numbers don’t mean much in the presence of possible symptoms.
I am planning to get another blood test at week 8, then again in 16. I’m having a really hard time and I am especially concerned with my current flu symptoms. If anyone could please provide some advice that would be greatly appreciated.
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30 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_f_tn
so two professionals have told you that it is 100% not herpes.
why don't you believe them?
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Avatar_f_tn
Yeah, it’s just that I’ve read doctors sometimes mistake it for other conditions, and some people have very mild symptoms that go unnoticed. The appearance of this cold/flu freaks me out. I'm trying to chill out until week 16. I'd just like someone to let me know what they think of the whole case, and this onset of a flu/cold.
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Avatar_f_tn
it sounds like you just have a cold
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Avatar_f_tn
Maybe you need to see a counselor? 2 professionals told you that without a doubt it was not herpes. Your friend that you think you may have contracted the virus from was tested negative, plus he has never had symptoms. You don't have herpes. Stop worrying. If you continue to experience anxiety seek advice from a counselor that can help you with your anxiety.
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Avatar_f_tn
I guess I am just paranoid because I know he sleeps around and has been known to lie once in a while. But if what he told me is true I shouldn’t have anything to worry about. I will see a counselor. I appreciate the advice. Thanks for taking the time to read through my story.
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Avatar_f_tn
even if he is lying about his status, that doesn't necessarily mean that you have caught it. i would believe the professionals who have seen you with their own eyes, rather than stories that you read on the internet.
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101028_tn?1348750963
getting a cold over a month after potential infection would not be related at all to herpes.  

It's unlikely you contracted anything from this encounter. You've been seen multiple times now and no one thinks this rash is herpes related. Sounds like they are thinking irritation and/or fungal.

no reason for any further testing for herpes or any other std dear. It's your anxiety that is the issue, not any real risk. Don't feed into your fears and go back to living life to the fullest instead of worrying that you contracted something from this.

We recommend that when a male partner's pants are off, a condom is on. It helps to save you from worrying like this as well as gives you less messes to clean up after outercourse that results in ejaculation.

grace
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Avatar_f_tn
This is definitely a regular cold since the mild fever is gone but I am still sneezing with a runny nose. Thanks very much everyone for the assessment. I greatly appreciate the advice.
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Avatar_f_tn
Ehh. The past few days the burning sensation has returned in the inner and outer buttocks area, back of thighs and sometimes down to the lower legs. I was awakened by the feeling of a pronounced irritation on the anus, upon inspection I immediately located a very small clear looking spot. I went to the OBGYN (a different doc than the past two appointments). She said the spot itself wasn’t a fluid-filled sore and didn’t look like herpes. She also said that sometimes it can appear as non-classical symptoms. The spot itself started to fade and seems to be mostly gone.

It is 5 weeks post possible exposure which she also said isn’t typical. I am still very concerned about the burning sensation, which occurred originally during days 2-5. Please advise on what could be happening.
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101028_tn?1348750963
you were seen and they didn't think anything looked like herpes. continue to follow up as needed.

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Avatar_f_tn
I noticed a tiny red rash on the back of my wrist, it looks a lot like the one that has been on my buttocks (the one that appears in patches, disappears then comes back again). I kinda noticed a bit of a burning feeling there too.

If this is herpes is it possible I spread it to my wrist from when I wipe after going to the bathroom? I have also been inspecting the area a lot with my hands although I do wash thoroughly after. I should have used gloves.

Should I not touch anyone, if I give someone a massage tomorrow will it risk spreading to them? I’m having a complete mental breakdown.
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Avatar_f_tn
if you are really worried about it, why dont you go to the doctor and get the area swabbed?
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101028_tn?1348750963
not likely you have herpes on your wrists. absolutely no reason to wear gloves you wipe yourself either!!

I agree with waterwater - be seen to get answers as to what is going on.
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Avatar_f_tn
I didn't realize they could swab a general area. They said there are no sores to swab so they didn't. I will go back this week and ask them to swab the area. Thanks
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Avatar_f_tn
Another question, I thought it was basically pointless to swab anything except for an actual sore that has fluid?
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Avatar_f_tn
i meant get the rash on your hand swabbed
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101028_tn?1348750963
go and be seen and get your rash on your wrist looked at. if they suspect herpes, probably too late now to swab it but odds are it's not herpes anyways.
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Avatar_f_tn
I was going in today but the rash on my wrist is gone now so there is no point. Emotionally I am a wreck.
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Avatar_f_tn
Ok I had it covered with a gauze wrap and now the rash on my wrist is back. Weird.
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Avatar_f_tn
why don't you go back to the doctor asap?
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Avatar_f_tn
I would have gone this morning but it disappeared again. Do herpes rashes appear and then disappear and then change shape and reappear like that?
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101028_tn?1348750963
no, herpes rashes do not come and go like this.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am ecstatic to report that he took a HerpesSelect blood test a few days ago and the results were Negative for both HSV1 and 2.
It has been 6 weeks since our exposure, and he said he hadn’t had intercourse for 2 months before that. This means there was enough time elapsed that the test should be correct.
How accurate is the HerpesSelect blood test? Can I breathe easy now, and try to find another explanation for the burning sensation and irritations?
Thanks very much!!!
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101028_tn?1348750963
98% accurate for hsv2.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Grace,
(Sorry to bother you) Would you recommend further testing for me at 12wk/16wks? I know my chances at this point are so low that it’s nearly irrational… I’m still anxious and I can’t seem to “let this go”. My last symptom was a small dark red rash on crotch that lasted 2 days, and the burning sensation in the buttocks / down to legs, which lasted about 3 weeks and fizzled out.
Thanks so much I really appreciate all of your advice.
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101028_tn?1348750963
I don't recommend any further herpes testing. go and be seen promptly every time  you have symptoms to try to figure out what they are instead.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi

I know exactly what you're going though or went through as this was a few months ago. I received oral sex just over a month a go then had protected intercourse with the same woman. Ever since then I've been doing the worst thing possible and constantly googling about genital herpes just because I know that it's not tested for in a standard std check up. Pretty much any symptom going can be related back to herpes wither it's back pain or a sore throat. I recently finished a hi dose course of antibiotics and I'm pretty sure I'm still feeling the effects. I've had thrush but instead of accepting it as thrush I've been worrying about genital herpes like an idiot. Have I had painful skin? No. Have I had any sign of a blister? No but still we get into this horrible cycle of checking out groin area and noticing things that probably were there before but we just never noticed until we scrutinised the area like this! I keep going to bed thinkin in the morning I'll wake up, pull my foreskin back and I'll be covered in blisters but I'm doubtful this will be the case as its already been over a month since exposure and the lady it was with has said she's never even had a cold sore on her lip never mind anywhere else. You know what I blame? The smartphone! Just think before we had such easy access to the Internet any aches and pains would have to wait till we got home, turned on the pc and by which time the pains probably gone anyway and forgotten about! Anyway I hope you're well and didn't have herpes. If I wake up tomorrow with blisters down there I'll let you know:-)
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi

I know exactly what you're going though or went through as this was a few months ago. I received oral sex just over a month a go then had protected intercourse with the same woman. Ever since then I've been doing the worst thing possible and constantly googling about genital herpes just because I know that it's not tested for in a standard std check up. Pretty much any symptom going can be related back to herpes wither it's back pain or a sore throat. I recently finished a hi dose course of antibiotics and I'm pretty sure I'm still feeling the effects. I've had thrush but instead of accepting it as thrush I've been worrying about genital herpes like an idiot. Have I had painful skin? No. Have I had any sign of a blister? No but still we get into this horrible cycle of checking out groin area and noticing things that probably were there before but we just never noticed until we scrutinised the area like this! I keep going to bed thinkin in the morning I'll wake up, pull my foreskin back and I'll be covered in blisters but I'm doubtful this will be the case as its already been over a month since exposure and the lady it was with has said she's never even had a cold sore on her lip never mind anywhere else. You know what I blame? The smartphone! Just think before we had such easy access to the Internet any aches and pains would have to wait till we got home, turned on the pc and by which time the pains probably gone anyway and forgotten about! Anyway I hope you're well and didn't have herpes. If I wake up tomorrow with blisters down there I'll let you know:-)
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi
If you are curious my blood tests have been negative after 17 weeks. Also the guy I was with tested negative. The blood tests are accurate so I am working on believing them once and for all. I still am having weird sensations and odd things happening which is driving me insane. But as the docs and experts on this forum say, believe the overwhelming scientific evidence and there is basically no hard sign pointing to having it in my case. That goes to show that anxiety, guilt and panic is INSANELY powerful in putting our minds in a bad place.
By the way, in the past several months I have done a ton of research. Based on your description, your exposure was low-risk in general. There was a small risk from HSV-1 from oral sex, but you would have had OBVIOUS blisters already, within 5 days and up to 3 weeks at most. (The type contracted from the lips to genital area HSV-1 usually causes obvious symptoms.) After one month, without symptoms, you do not need to keep checking. Your intercourse exposure was condom protected, also, so there is no reason to think you have anything. Remember that back pain, sore throat, and fever are signs that appear WITH obvious blisters and sores. Those signs by themselves are in no way indicative of anything. There's a lot of mis-information out there, and things listed but taken out of context. Stop with the “internet doctor” and to quote Grace, an expert on this forum, “time to call off the crotch watch!”
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Avatar_f_tn
What did you end up figuring out? I found this thread after doing some googling because I just had a very similar set of symptoms.
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