STDs Expert Forum
Insect bites or 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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Insect bites or Herpes??

Hi Dr.

Great Forum. I can see that it informs several people about the TRUTH of stds.

I am a 28 yr old female. I had unprotected vaginal sex with a guy about 3 weeks ago. Exactly 13 days after this exposure I developed 2 reddish circular looking "insect bites" on the back of my thigh, right where the "boxer short" area ends (so about midway down the back of my thigh). The two reddish circilar bumps are close to each other. They are about 1/4" - 1/3" inch in diameter. They do NOT appear to have any vesicle or blister like appearance nor appear to be fluid filled. They are just very red, circular, and look like an irritated raised red bumb that an insect bite might leave.

The day before I noticed the 2 "bites," I went to a park with my dog and  sat on the grass for about an hour where I could see several insects and ants. This is why I suspect that they are only insect bites as well as the location of the "lesions"  

1. Do you think this is genital herpes? Or do you think it is more likely to be insect bites??

2.  I know that a herpes outbreak can occur anywhere over the body, but how common is it to occur in the location that I decribed for a female(in the back of the thigh, right where the "boxer short" area ends) ??

3. I have read by Dr. Hunter Handsfield that initial herpes outbreaks in males usually occur on the penis. Where do most initial outbreaks occur for females?

4. Would 13 days be a little late or uncommon to show outbreaks?? I have read 2-12 days

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Based on your description, herpes is extremely unlikely, if not impossible.  Although recurrent herpes indeed can occur anywhere in the "boxer shorts" area, the initial infection in women almost always involves the vaginal opening, labia, or anal area.  Herpes also doesn't typically cause anything like "reddish circular bumps".  You already seem to understand that the usual appearance is one of clustered vesicles (blister-like lesions).  To the specific questions:

1) I strongly doubt herpes.  Bites sound possible, but I have no opinion about that or other causes.

2) That would be a very rare location for the first episode, as I said above.

3) See above.  In both men and women, the initial symptoms usually are at the site of inoculation of the virus.  And that is generally where the greatest friction occurs during sex.  That's because the virus has to be "massaged" into the tissues in order for infection to occur.

4) Yes, in addition to all the other reasons the problem isn't herpes, the onset was a bit late.  Onset can be as late as 3 weeks, but that's uncommon; 3-10 days is typical.

Of course I cannot guarantee that you don't have genital herpes.  But there is nothing in your description that sounds suspicious for herpes.  But if you remain concerned, see a health care provider for direct evaluation.

I hope this helps.  Best wishes--  HHH, MD


3 Comments
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Doctor I'm not sure if this helps, but the first day I noticed the iiritated bumps they itched for one day and then stopped itching.

Also its been about 5 days since I have noticed the bites and they look close to the same as when I first noticed them  - in other  words they have not really reduced in size much or appear to be healing much. But they dont itch anymore
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The additional information doesn't change my opinion.
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A related discussion, Flea Bite ? was started.
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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