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Sore Throat Sign of 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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Sore Throat Sign of Herpes?

I am worried about possible herpes exposure:
March 18th
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First, you describe no significant risk of herpes (your sex was condom-protected, and getting a little semen on your leg doesn't count as a signficant risk for anything).  If your partner had an overt, visible outbreak of herpes, the risk would be greater, but even then the odds would be greatly in your favor.

Second, you do not describe a single symptom that suggests herpes.  Some of the symptoms you mention indeed can occur in people with herpes, but not by themselves.  If you had overt genital blisters or open sores, you might also have soreness in the groin area, tingling near the lesions, and so on.  But by themselves your symptoms are meaningless with respect to HSV.

Direct replies to your questions:

1) Technically, I suppose it is possible herpes explains your sore throat, but from your description there is no reason to suspect it.  When herpes causes sore throat at all, usually it is the worst sore throat of your life, with multiple open sores in the back of the throat and all over the inside of the mouth.

2) usually blisters/sores are first, then flu-like symptoms.

3) If you had oral herpes, it would be very easily transmitted during the initial infection. But you don't.

4) Based on what you describe, the best time for you to have a herpes blood test is never.  I see no reason for it.  But if you insist, don't get tested until at least 3 months have passed.  If positive at that time for either virus type, it probably won't have anything to do with your current symptoms or your March 18 sexual adventures; it will be because you have been infected all along.  Also remember that half the population has HSV-1 from childhood, even without history of oral herpes or cold sores.  So a positive HSV-1 test would mean nothing important for your health.

So I suggest dropping the whole business.  But it's up to you. Best wishes--

HHH, MD
5 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks so much for your reply. What about exposure risk for my April 1st encounter?  The sore throat (especially the back of my neck) started about a week after and I gave him oral sex.  Although he didn't have visible sores, I'm worred that I may have missed them.  Is herpes pharyngitis the same as herpes liabilis and leads to mouth sores or separate infections?

Thanks again!
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239123_tn?1267651214
Sorry, I spaced on your more recent exposure.  But in ancient times (30 years ago), when I was a wet behind the years STD researcher (trying hard to stay dry elsewhere), I was among several who reported on the association of sore throat with people who performed oral sex.  It's much more common for fellatio than cunnilingus.  But although it is fairly common for people to complain of sore throat in your circumstance, the research never found a cause.  In other words, the frequency with which we could diagnose gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, or other STD organisms (or of non-STD bugs like strep) was no higher in people who had performed oral sex compared with those who had not.

So it remains a mystery.  Whether there is some sort of physical irritation, reaction to sexual secretions, or just psychology at work is unknown.  But it is clear that no harm comes and the symptoms clear up.  Obviously, if your symptoms don't go away in another week or two, see a provider to be safe.  Or if you're nervous, visit an STD clinic for exam and testing, e.g. for gonorrhea.  But I doubt it will be necessary.

HHH, MD
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Avatar_n_tn
Ok, so basically I may have been at risk for HSV 1 through my oral sex activities last week?  In the event it is oral herpes, what should I look for?  Blisters in my mouth (are they always painful or only when they burst) and swollen lymph nodes (all the nodes in my neck or just some of them)?

Thanks!

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239123_tn?1267651214
I didn't say that.  Read both replies more carefully.  The second reply gave you still more reason to NOT be worried about oral herpes.  Just forget herpes, it isn't an issue for you.

HHH, MD
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A related discussion, Genital Herpes from oral sex was started.
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A related discussion, do i have herpes? was started.
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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