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Herpes of the eye
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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 eye

Hi...I had an encounter about 4 months ago...giving and receiving oral sex (I am a man, encounter was with a woman) with some genital to genital rubbing. There was no ejaculation, if that is an important consideration.

Lately, I have been experiencing a bit of a burning sensation on the underside of my penis. There is no real redness to speak of, and I have not seen any red bumps or lesions develop yet. This sensation seems to come and go and has been occurring for about 5 days. I have a feeling that this sensation could be due to my anxiety over the encounter (I have a long term girlfriend, and this encounter was not with her - a mistake I know). But I am going in to be tested for herpes tomorrow. This doctor says he can perform a genital herpes test and have results in 20 minutes. Do you know of such a test, and is it considered reliable?

My question is this...I believe that at some point, while checking out my penis, I might have touched my eye (took out my contacts) immediately afterwards without washing my hands. If I did happen to have genital herpes, could it be transmitted to the eye in such a fasion? Or does there have to be a visable open lesion in order to transmit it to another area such as the eye? For the past 2 days since I touched my eye, I have been having mild blurriness, but this, again, could be chalked up to my anxiety enhancing a totally normal situation. So, if I DID have genital herpes, and I WAS experiencing a prodromal sensation, could the virus be transmitted to my eye during this prodromal stage, or would it have to be an active lesion to transmit? Thanks.
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Herpes infection of the eye does not cause subtle symptoms; it is exceedingly painful, and within a few days you might even start to go blind in that eye.  You can be confident that whatever is going on, it isn't herpes.  Whether it is anxiety or not, I can't say--but on many occasions I have said that when a person suspects his/her own symptoms are due to stress or anxiety, they often are right.

Yes, there is an accurate HSV-2 blood test that gives results in the office in about 20 minutes.  Your doctor probably is referring to the test marketed by Biokit USA.  However, the Biokit tst is only for HSV-2; and given the nature of your exposure (oral sex, not genital intercourse), the virus type of concern is HSV-1, not HSV-2.

But I don't think herpes is your problem anyway.

Best wishes-- HHH, MD
3 Comments
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Would the genital to genital rubbing leave me open to HSV-2?
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239123_tn?1267651214
Genital apposition, such as genital rubbing without sex, could transmit genital herpes but usually does not; almost all cases are acquired by insertive sex.  Anyway, as I said, your symptoms do not suggest herpes; even if your HSV-2 is positive, I would doubt you acquired it during the event you describe or that it is the cause of your symptoms.

HHH, MD
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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