STDs Expert Forum
If Not STD Symptoms - Then What?
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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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If Not STD Symptoms - Then What?

For the past 7 months or so I have had some interesting symptoms that I have not been able to get any clarity on.  I am concerned that they are STD related, but if not, then I would still like to know what they might be.  About 8 months ago I had a an unprotected encounter with a sex worker (we did not have sex, she was naked, I was wearing boxers, there may have been some skin to skin contact).

All STD tests have come back negative, except for a couple of positive ELISA tests for HSV-2 which then turned to negative ELISA tests for HSV-2 followed by two indeterminate Western Blot tests.

I am experiencing discomfort in the genital region.  My main irritating symptom involves a feeling of hair-pulling.  Every week for a couple of days or so I get the feeling like my testicles are more moist and red than normal.  Dermatologists I have seen say it's within the normal range of redness they see and it's probably not a fungal infection.  Along with this symptom, my skin gets quite sensitive to the hair being pulled.  This is noticeable when sitting down in certain positions because depending on how you sit, certain hair is naturally pulled.  It's very uncomfortable and noticeable.  I can often adjust my position to minimize the feeling, but it usually doesn't go away completely.  There are also two specific spots right above the base of my penis in the public hair symmetrically on either side that also have the sensitivity to hair pulling.  This goes away for days at a time and then reoccurs.

I've been told by countless people that these are not herpes symptoms.  Do these sound herpes related to you?  If not, what else could it be (either std related or not?)  Do you have any suggestions of other people I should ask or Doctors I should see?

While this is a pain, I can live with it.  Ultimately I really want to know if I am at risk for passing it to someone else that I have sex with.

Thanks for your help
300980_tn?1194933000
Welcome to the Forum.  You are really asking two main questions- What it this and If not HSV, what might it be..  First, I am confident this is not HSV.  As I read through your posts (all 24 of them) I have come to the conclusion that this is unlikely to be herpes or, for that matter any other STD acquired through your brief encounter with the exotic dancer.  . The exposure to the exotic dancer described did not involve her having any contact with your scrotum or other genital regions and the symptoms you describe are atypical for herpes.  When considered in the context of your history, your low positive HerpeSelect results, along with repeated indeterminate Western blot tests the picture  as a whole is far more consistent with your not having Herpes and having had falsely positive ELISAs (HerpeSelect tests) than anything else.

As far as what this might be, I cannot say.  The fact that you have not had a diagnosis after being seen by nearly 20 different health care professionals however makes me wonder if this might be a reflection of your vigilance in looking for symptoms and, as a result, a tendency to notice normal sensations that would be otherwise overlooked.  In my experience, I can get nearly any patient to notice previously unnoticed sensations (usually a slight itch) by asking them to focus on the sensation they are experiencing at any place on the body. For instance, when I suggest that patients focus on the sensation associated with their clothing touching their neck or the sensation of a watch or bracelet on their wrist, they experience a mild itch.  This is all normal.  Our body typically filters out these sensations as part of daily living until we focus on them- then we become aware.  I suspect that this is happening to you.

I am not being glib and hope that you will understand and agree that after of of the health care professionals you have seen and all of the testing you have had, you can now be quite confident that you did not get HSV from the exposure you have described.  I am

I hope my comments are helpful to you.  EWH
5 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks for your response!  I really appreciate the added time you took to look at my other posts as well.

I understand your thoughts about this being largely psychological, but the way some of my symptoms are presenting themselves just don't seem to match up with that for me.  Specifically, the red scrotum and discomfort in the upper pubic area have gotten worse for a period of 2-5 days or so probably 4 or 5 times since I started noticing these symptoms.  They are also accompanied by 3-4 pimple looking things.  I am in the midst of one of these flare ups right now.  The pimples start out as red bumps.  One of them developed a head and I was able to pop it and squeeze out a bit of pus (similar to a pimple).  Does this added information change your opinion about the herpes or the psychological nature of my symptoms?

I have some valtrex, would you recommend taking that at the onset of symptoms and seeing if that provides any immediate relief?  I suppose the placebo effect could apply there if it is psychological though.

Thanks for your help, this is an ongoing issue that I can't seem to figure out!  My main concern though all of this is the risk of transmission to future partners and whether or not I need to disclose anything to them.  Could this be related to another STD?  Like HPV?  Obviously I want this to all go away for my comfort as well, but I can deal with it if I have to, I just don't want to infect anyone else.
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Avatar_m_tn
Additionally, I can provide some pictures if that would be beneficial, but I don't know how to go about getting them to you.
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300980_tn?1194933000
At this juncture, my advice would be to discuss these continuuing concerns with a dermatologist or other trained health care provider who you are comfortable with. We try hard to provide advice and direction to our clients on this Forum but for "next steps' there is no substitute to a direct interaction with a clinican who can exam you directly and take a more detailed histpory than we can here.  As I said earlier, this in almost certainly not any kind of STD acquired through the interaction with the expotic dancer that you ahve described. EWH
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks for the advice.  My concern thus far has been finding a healthcare provider who is knowledgeable about STDs.  A number of doctors I have seen have provided me with information (specifically about herpes) that is just plain wrong and uninformed.  There seems to be a lack of widespread knowledge about that in particular.  I appreciate your insight, as you are obviously well versed in the signs and symptoms of many STDs and thus are able to provide more informed information.  I'll look into a dermatologist.  Thanks!
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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