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Could this small skin break mean I have herpes?
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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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Could this small skin break mean I have herpes?

Doctor-

Last Thursday night, I had sex without a condom with a woman I've been seeing off and on for the past few months. We've never had a conversation about STD's.
On Monday evening, I was masturbating, and I looked down to see a small amount of blood on the tip of my penis near my urethra. It was mixed with pre-ejaculatory fluid (pardon the graphic description) but it was red and seemed to me to be blood. I wiped it off, and found a tiny, barely noticeable break in the skin, literally the size of a pin-*****. If I squeezed it, trace amounts of blood would form on the surface, and if I wiped it off it was barely visible it was so small. There was no pain whatsoever.
In the morning, a pin-sized scab had formed over it. Concerned that it could be an atypical and painless primary herpes symptom, I went to the doctor.

She asked me if I use or had been using a lubricant on myself, and I replied that I do but had not on this particular occasion. She then examined me and said that it did not look like a herpes lesion to her; that it looked like it had been caused by friction. She offered me the option of blood testing, but did not insist that I needed it.

Everything about this piece of open skin and the barely-there scab that it left is consistent with a very small cut. If it was anywhere else on my body I wouldn't think twice about it. It never appeared to be a blister, or fluid or pus-filled, or anything else of that nature. What worries me so much, though, is that I have no idea how it got there.
I was touching my penis when I noticed it, but the area on which I found it is not an area that gets a lot of (or any) contact or friction during masturbation.
As I said, there was never any pain associated with it. I just looked down and there it was. It was never at all sensitive, although maybe this is simply because it's so small.

Furthermore I have not experienced any burning, tingling, itching, etc. At most, I've had some slight soreness in my testicles, but nothing too unusual that couldn't have been caused by jostling etc. My doctor examined them and found no swelling.

She also said that bleeding is not generally associated with herpes lesions. And, as it was already healing less than 24 hours later, she said she wouldn't be able to swab anything.

Today, Friday, it's almost completely gone. So my question is: could this barely perceptible, painless, pin-***** sized area of open skin constitute an atypical herpes symptom? Should I get tested at 6 weeks?
It did leave a scab, but it was never really an open lesion or sore. It left a scab just as any piece of broken skin would. Still, I'm very worried and can't get it off my mind. I do tend to be overanxious about these things.

Any advice you could offer would be appreciated. Thank you.




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I agree with your doctor about bleeding herpes lesions.  Although I have never seen data on this, I have never seen such a case and believe it is rare for herpes lesions to bleed.  And I am even more skeptical of bleeding alone from a cut-like lesion; it would be more believable if you saw bleeding coming from a painful, ulcerated lesion or from a pimple-like lesion.  From your description, I am more suspicious of a traumatic event of some kind, i.e. a cut, just as you describe.

If the lesion heals and you have no additional episodes of either similar lesions or of more typical herpes outbreaks, you probably can just forget it.  But if you are sufficiently nervous about it, you could have an HSV blood test.  If you do it, wait until 3 months.  In the meantime, relax.  I doubt herpes is the cause of the problem.

Good luck--  HHH, MD
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