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Autoinoculation
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The STD Forum is intended only for questions and support pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital warts, trichomonas, other vaginal infections, nongonoccal urethritis (NGU), cervicitis, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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Autoinoculation

Hello Dr,

I've had oral herpes since I was 17 or so. I am now 31.  I've had very few outbreaks (maybe 4 or 5) total since then.  The other day I noticed a small pimple looking thing right below my lower lip.  I don't think it was a cold sore because it was just red and never has "pussed" or "crusted".  I almost looks like it could be razor burn as well.  But since it was around my lip it raised concern.  A day later or so I decided I wanted to masturbate.  Knowing the risks of autoinculation (which I know is very rare)I washed my hands throughly with soap and hot water.  Then instead of putting my hand directly on my penis to mastubate I wore boxer shorts and sweat pants and rubbed my penis over my clothing.  I fugured this would be the safest way not to infect myself down there.  I've had no symptoms on my penis since then and everything feels fine.  I guess I'm just feeling guilty about even maturbating when I had a cold sore present (if in fact it was even a cold sore) even though I washed my hands and didn't touch my penis directly.  Should I feel pretty certain that I didn't put myself at risk of giving myself HSV-1 on my genitals?  I know the immune system sets up anitbodies and I should be OK but I just wanted to check with you.  thanks.
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Even if you picked at your oral herpes lesion and then intentionally scratched your penis and massaged the scratch with oral herpes secretions, you probably could not infect yourself.  Autoinoculation is almost entirely limited to the first episode of an HSV infection, before the immune system has built up defences.

So your concluding sentence is exactly right.  Common-sense hygiene is, well, common sense; but even if you didn't wash etc, the chance of autoinoculation of HSV-1 to your genitals through masturbation is very close to zero.

Good luck--  HHH, MD
3 Comments
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Thanks Doctor.  So no need to tell any future partners about my genitals "may" been exposed to HSV-1 via my hand?

I know I'm overreacting but just want to make sure.

thanks again.
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Of course not.  If you can't transfer infection to your penis, you can't transmit infection from your penis.  Common sense--and yes, you are overreacting.

HHH, MD
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