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Can herpes red bumps go away in less than a week?
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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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Can herpes red bumps go away in less than a week?

I had protected vaginal sex and unprotected oral sex with a woman about 3 weeks ago.  I also had sex with a different woman (protected vaginal and unprotected oral) about a week ago.  The day after I had sex with the second woman I noticed chafing around the base of my penises with a few little pimple looking things.  I also had what looked like carpet burn near the tip of my penis with two little zit like looking bumps.

I think that it was too soon after the second sexual encounter to have contracted any STDs but I am concerned that the first encounter (two weeks before side effects appeared) might have been the problem.  The "carpet burn" and one of the small zit looking bumps went away within two days of appearing.  The second bump lasted about 4 days.

I went into the doctor yesterday who looked at the second bump on the tip of my penis that had now dried out and looked like a dark red spot (about the size of a normal zit; nothing huge) and said it might be herpes.  He sent me to the dermatologist.  The dermatologist said it was probably just do to rough sex the weekend before.  He also said the dry skin at the base looked like a yeast infection.

I am very worried now.  I will have to wait a few weeks to take a blood test.  I have a few questions.  Can herpes bumps (presumably the 1st occurance) go away in 4-5 days?  I used a condom for vaginal sex.  Since the red bumps appeared on the top of the shaft where the condom covers, is it still possible to transmit the disease through the condom to this area?  The bumps usually show up where the virus entered the body right?  I also had slight pain in the pelvic area the day after I had sex with the first woman but attributed it (once again) to rough sex.  Is soreness in that area the day after sex a possible sign of herpes?
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Welcome to the STD forum.  Responding first to the title you chose for your question, before reading anything else:  Herpes generally doesn't cause "red bumps" without blisters or open sores, and lesions rarely heal completely in less than 10-12 days.   My guess is that herpes does not explain your symptoms.

Now I have read the question itself.  I agree with my initial judgment.  It was indeed too soon after the sexual encounter for herpes symptoms, which cannot start in less than 2 days (average 3-5 days) after exposure.  Further, the symptoms you describe don't sound like herpes.  And most important, a dermatologist's diagnosis that the persisting spot wasn't herpes is highly reliable; no providers are better than dermatologists in accurately recognizing herpes lesions or superficial fungal (yeast) infections.

On top of all that, you describe a sexual exposure that was very low risk with respect to herpes:  condoms are highly protective against HSV-2, and although oral exposure can lead to HSV-1, it is uncommon for any single exposure, especially if your partner did not have a visible cold sore.

Considering the low transmission risk, symptoms that don't suggest herpes, and the professional opinion of a dermatologist, there simply is no realistic chance you caught gherpes and see no reason for you to have a blood test.  But if you go ahead, at least don't lose any sleep over it as you wait for the 3 month mark; and be aware that if positive for either HSV-1 or 2, it won't be from either of the sexual encounters you describe.

Regards-- HHH, MD
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