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Herpes of the Throat? Confused!!
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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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Herpes of the Throat? Confused!!

Hello Doctor, here's my situation:

I have been tested for all STDs prior to this, and have received negative results on all.

I've had a sore throat for about 16 days now. It was severe for the first 4 days, in which my throat was severely inflamed. I had a headache, but I believe it was from lack of sleep because my throat was keeping me up, and I was in the midst of final exams (which also kept me up). The only other symptoms I experienced with this were a small canker sore under the tongue which dissipated within a week, red, rashy-looking welts on the back of my throat, and a white spot on my tonsil. I didn't experience fever, lip/facial sores, fatigue, cough, runny nose...anything. Just what I described. I read that herpes can give you a sore throat, and that one can contract HSV1 through casual, non-sexual contact. I'm afraid that I did that without knowing, but I have been racking my brain and there isn't an instance I can recall where I could have put myself at risk! I asked my doctor today if this looked like it could be due to an STD and she said no. I also had a rapid strep test done and it was negative.

My doctor prescribed me a z-pack on the 5th day, and my sore throat dropped from severe to moderate in less than 48 hours of the first dose. I finished the medication as prescribed, and the sore throat is minimal now...but hasn't gone away. My throat also still looks somewhat rashy, and the white dot on my tonsil has shrunk in size, but has not disappeared. Is this normal??

1. Does what i describe sound like oral/throat herpes to you? If not, what is it like?
2. How long does a herpetic sore throat last?
3. Within the past two weeks of my sore throat developing, I performed oral sex on my partner and then proceeded to have unprotected sex...now my vagina is irritated, could my sore throat be a cause? did I endanger my partner?
4. What is the likelihood of herpes transmission in a non-sexual manner?

Thank you for the response.
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Welcome back to the STD forum.

Sore throat is a rare symptom of any STD.  It is true that an initial oral herpes infection can cause sore throat, but that's just for the first few days of symptoms, and it is not the only symptomm.  Initial oral herpes primarily has multiple painful sores inside the mouth, including the throat -- not just a sore throat.

As for the azithromycin Z-pak, of course it did not help.  The vast majority of sore throats are due to respiratory viruses, and no virus responds to azithromycin or any other antibiotic. They just have to clear up on their own.  Sometimes it takes 2-3 days, sometimes a few weeks.  Your doctor knows this; undoubtedly s/he prescribed the antibiotic in the hope it might help, but not with confidence that it actually would b eeffective.

To the specific questions:

1) As I suggested above, probably a garden-variety minor respiratory virus.

2) Up to a couple of weeks, but never as the main or only symptom.  See above.

3) Probably the only "danger" to your partner is that it's a good chance you gave him your cold.

4) That's a very broad question and there is no single answer.  Oral herpes is usually nonsexually acquired, unless you count kissing.  Genital herpes is never nonsexually aquired.  Transmission of HSV to newborns during labor is nonsexual.  And so on.

In summary, there is nothing in this story that makes herpes a signficant concern.  No testing for HSV infection is necessary in this situation.

Finally, your previous thread on this forum, as well as this one, plus the many questions you have asked in the past year on the herpes community forum and other MedHelp forums-- suggest you are highly anxious about herpes, beyond a level that seems reasonable.  Nobody wants to get it, but HSV (of either type) is not worth the level of concern you express about it.  If you remain so obsessed about it, this might be something worth discussing with your doctor, including the possibility that s/he might recommend counseling about it.

If your symptoms continue to concern you, work on it with your health care provider.

Regards--  HHH MD
5 Comments
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you very much for your response. I'm very much concerned about herpes, you are right. Doesn't sound like something that is pleasant, and I'm not quite sure where my intense fear of it originated.

What do the herpes sores resemble when they're present in the mouth/throat? Similar to a canker sore? The sore I had was sunken in, small, and white looking. How long to they remain present in the mouth? The welts that I had/have in my throat are red and raised-looking. Also, how severe is a sore throat due to herpes?

So, having a sore throat lasting for over 2 weeks really isn't a cause for concern? It was so intense the first few days, and the anti-biotic seemed to cushion it a tad, but not completely treat it, like you said. I guess I just took that as if there's something terribly wrong.

Also, the vaginal irritation I supposed could have been some just normal living, but I guess given the circumstances I start looking at everything as a whole and tying everything together. You don't feel there's any correlation between my sore throat, the sexual encounter, and then the vaginal irritation?

Thank you for putting a lot of my anxieties at ease. I'm going to my gyn Monday for an annual exam, and will address any remaining concerns with him. You really do help me out tremendously.
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239123_tn?1267651214
No, I do not see any reason to suspect any link between your sexual encounter, sore throat, and vaginal irritation.  Of course the latter should be evaluated professionally, but a yeast infection sounds like the best bet.

I will have no further comments.  Please accept the reassurance you have been given.  We're not going to get into a sting of "yes but" or "what if" questions as in your previous thread on this forum.  These are questions for your personal health care provider.
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Avatar_f_tn
Is it possible to have a herpes outbreak only on the throat? I can't seem to find any information on the internet about it. What do the oral ulcers look like? Are they similar to those that are seen on the lips?
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239123_tn?1267651214
And exactly how did you interpret my last reply?  You may not keep returning with every additional anxiety-provoked question that comes to mind.  This is the last one for sure.

"Possible?"  Yes.  But as I already said, there are numerous other reasons why herpes is not a likely explanation for your problem.  Re-read my original reply.

You came here for reassurance you don't have herpes.  I gave it.  Accept it or not, I don't care, but don't argue with it.

That's all for this thread.  And please do not start a new one on this.
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