Herpes Community
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Avatar universal


I am a 30 yr old male.Over the past two weekends,I’ve had vaginal sex with two different women (once with each woman each weekend). I used condoms in one instance and did for all but 2mins in the other. Yesterday morning,I woke up with several small, red marks on the right side of belt line, about half way between where my pubic hair begins and my belly button. I figured these were due to friction from sex the night before.However, over the day yesterday and today these marks have increased in number and now are a kind of single belt of irritated, red skin, and it is very itchy. Also yesterday, on the right side of the shaft of my penis, a patch of skin became somewhat inflamed, and now looks wrinkly and swollen (it is slightly red but not too much, and I don’t see any obvious bumps). I went to the dermatologist today and he at first said he thought it was the start of shingles. Then he said it also could be HSV, but he would think shingles is more likely. He also said that it’s possible it’s some kind of dermatitis or allergy. I also have a small lesion on the left side of my neck that is red with small dots inside (this he said could be related but not sure).  He prescribed valacyclovir (assuming this was shingles).  I asked for a PCR and he instructed me to go to urgent care as his office didn’t have this test.I went to urgent care and the doctor there said he thought it was some kind of allergic reaction (he asked if it could be poison ivy) or dermatitis. He did not think it was shingles (as part of the lesion present both on the left and right side) and didn’t think it was HSV. He swabbed the area below my belly button (but not my penis) and will PCR for HSV and Shingles (only b/c I asked him to). I also took an IGG blood test. Note I have never had any penile symptoms before but I was visually diagnosed with Shingles several years ago (it occurred on my mid-left thigh). Does this sound like HSV? Is Shingles possible given the lesion is on both side of my pubic area? Could this be something else completely like the urgent care doctor suggested?
4 Responses
Avatar universal
This rash has spread somewhat.   I now see an area of redness on the head of my penis, and on the upper part of my right thigh.  I also see some small red patches above my belly button.  I do not see any blisters, but more of a red rash, somewhat raised in certain areas.
207091 tn?1337709493
Given that it's on your neck and above your belly button now, I'd say this isn't herpes, and probably not shingles.

Herpes infects nerve groups, and genital herpes infects the sacral ganglia. That covers the boxer short area, and probably wouldn't go above your waist. It definitely wouldn't go on your neck.

Oral herpes, if you had gotten hsv1 both orally and genitally (if either woman had performed oral sex on you, which you don't mention), infects the trigeminal nerve, which doesn't include the neck in the areas it affects.

Shingles is typically on one side only.

I agree that it's probably an allergy or fungal infection or dermatitis of some sort. It's good that they cultured it, so you'll know for sure it isn't herpes, but I really don't think it is.

Have you used a new soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, dryer sheets, or anything that comes into contact with your skin? Have you eaten any new foods? Any foods that may have changed their ingredients (think "new and improved flavor" and the like)?

Allergies can develop at any time, at any age. Even if you've used something for years, you can suddenly become allergic to it. Keep working with your doctor to see what you can find out. Did any doctor suggest taking benedryl to see if that helped?
Thank you.  I am so filled with anxiety right now over this being HSV.  So do you think the dermatologist was just wrong (and that the urgent care doctor was right)?  How often do dermatologists misdiagnose HSV/Shingles when the issue is in fact something else?  Also, just to clarify, I did have the neck lesion and red marks around/above my belly button initially and showed it to the dermatologist.  I guess he wasn't sure what to make of these and still put me on valacyclovir which I am taking.

If this were HSV would the rash have produced blisters by this time?  I don't see anything I would describe as a blister, water-filled, etc.

The only thing I can think of is that I did use some new lubricant 4 nights ago during sex.   The only other possibility is that I was in the country about 2 weeks before this all started and possibly could have been exposed to poison ivy, or ticks.

I am not feeling any pain, per se, but pretty bad itchiness.  
Avatar universal
This rash seems to be spreading further.   Now I itch and see some red irritation on the left side of where my thigh meets my pubic area, as well as a small patch or red skin about seven inches below the lowest part of my armpit.  Does HSV act this way, spreading so quickly and in several different areas?
207091 tn?1337709493
No, herpes doesn't spread like this. You might have more than one spot of blisters, but it wouldn't act like this.

It also wouldn't be underneath your armpit or on your torso. I explained above about how it infects nerve groups, and you'd only get it in the boxer shorts area or on the face (nose and mouth).

A visual diagnosis of herpes is wrong a lot. I don't know an actual statistic on this, but I'd guess at least 30% of the time.

Nothing you describe resembles herpes. It could be poison ivy, an allergic reaction, etc. Can you take benedryl? If you can safely take that, and have time to sleep for a few hours, that may help with the itching.
I just saw my GP, given the prior confusing diagnoses.  He immediately said he thought it was some kind of contact dermatitis, and when I told him about my country trip, he thought it must be some kind of poison ivy reaction.  He did not think it was HSV at all.  So I am expecting/hoping that the PCR is negative.  I now almost wish I didn’t take the blood test, given the risk of a false positive.
Well, if it comes back positive, we'll cross that bridge when we get there. Don't worry about it now.

Did he give you any meds to help? I hope you feel better!
yes he gave me prednisone.  thanks!
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