STDs Expert Forum
Did I get HSV2? Did I pass it on?
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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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Did I get HSV2? Did I pass it on?

Last HSV test - 6/2012, both neg.

Feb 14th- Received unprotected oral from Girl #1. "Grinded" (her on top) for 10 min multiple times with my underwear off, and hers on. She was wet and I touched myself too. Found out 2 days ago she has HSV2.

Nights of March 4/5 - Received/gave unprotected oral with Girl #2. "Grinded" (her on top) both nude for 10 min multiple times. No penetrative sex. However, when I fingered her in one spot, it hurt her. She says she is clean, but I'm not so sure.

March 10 - While soaping myself in the shower, not sure if I scratched too hard, but felt a stinging sensation that burned from the soap. Looked down and saw a red area. Didn't see an obvious blister or puss as I probably scratched it away, so I have no clue if it was a blister or pimple.  It's on the mid part of the pubis.

March 11-16 - Monday- red area doesn't go away and itches, so I squeeze the area hoping it's a pimple. I can't see an obvious pimple head, just a red area.  Some clear liquid came out, no puss. I covered it with bandaids and neosporin for 5 days, but it wouldn't stop itching and was still red. Itched REALLY badly and wasn't healing.

Night of March 22 & 25 - Intoxicated and forgot about the spot. Healing but not completely healed. Slept with a girl I've been off and on with, but we didn't use protection.

It was 23-24 days past Girl #1 (HSV2+) exposure and 5 days past Girl #2 that this itchy red area appeared.  Now Girl #3 says she feels like she has mono and feels sick/terrible 5-6 days after we had unprotected sex.  I'm almost healed now. I don't remember having any swollen glands, so maybe this was a second breakout? maybe I had HSV before then (doubtful but possible)?

If clean before, then what? Is there a chance I can rule out girl #1 since it was more than the "4-14" days?  Will you get sores first or the "flu-feeling"? Are you still contagious if the area is still "red"? What now? Any insight would help. I hope I didn't get it/pass it on. :(
Welcome back to the forum.

I'm sorry to hear your somewhat inflated concerns about genital herpes -- as reflected in past questions both on this and the herpes forum -- are continuing.

It is theoretically possible to transmit HSV by non-insertive sex (genital apposition with penetration -- i.e. "grinding") but it is rare. And even with insertive vaginal sex, the average transmission risk if one partner has HSV-2 probably averages about once for every 1,000 exposures.

Your symptoms are atypical for a new HSV infection, either HSV-1 or HSV-2, and I am confident you didn't catch either one.  And initial herpes is an extremely unlikely cause of a mononucleosis-like syndrome in the absence of overt, painful, hard-to-miss genital or oral blisters, ulcers, etc -- so it is very doubtful herpes explains your partner's symptoms.  The genital lesions -- blisters, then open sores etc -- almost always precede systemic symptoms like fever or headache.

What now?  If you don't develop more typical symptoms, I suggest nothing.  But if you are concerned about your symptoms or you remain concerned despite this opinion, see your primary care physician or another health care provider.

Regards--  HHH, MD
Well if anything has come of this, it's that I know there are medical professionals out there who have NO clue about HSV & testing.  I got results from a test on 3/29/13.  She said I was negative cause IGM was negative. I asked her about IGG and she said it didn't matter.  Anyone who has read this forum knows she's completely wrong.  I finally got her to cough up the number IGG results and she told me:

HSV1: 1.04
HSV2: 0.16

I asked her if it was equivocal, and she said yes, but I should consider myself positive for HSV1 because I was close enough.  

What do you think? Any chance this was an initial gHSV1 infection and I tested too early so it didn't have a chance to break 1.1?  Or should I consider myself ok?  And/or should I test again in a few weeks?

Less research has been done on low-positive HSV-1 results than HSV-2.  But more likely than not, many (most?) results like yours are false.

I'm afraid your anxieties about herpes are primarily serving to create still more, even less necessary anxities.  In my view, you should not have been tested at all on account of the exposure described above.  You now have to deal with a result that probably is meantingless, or perhaps related to a distant past oral infection (missed by your previous blood tests) and that you would be better off not knowing.  In the absence of symptoms suggesting initial herpes, I remain very skeptical you acquired genital herpes during that event.  However, it's impossible to say with certainty that you did not.

And there it stands.  My advice is to go forward in confidence you don't have genital herpes due to either virus type (and probably not oral HSV-1).

Finally, don't be too hard on your doctor about IgM HSV testing.  Most of us (health professionals) have been taught that IgM antibody testing is a good way to distinguish new from long established infections -- and it works that way for most of them.  It isn't too surprising that many are unaware that HSV is an exception to the rule.
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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