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Ever heard of antiviral medication being delivered via catheter for Genital Herpes?

So.. I’m an American male in Vietnam during the COVID pandemic, can’t get back to work where I live.  I’m staying with my fiancé. Last week, I started to get itchy spots around ankles, and then back of knee. A few days later I had an itchy spot on my penis shaft, with a slight red bump. I also had several whitehead appearing spots in my pubic hair area, which I easily picked off and which bled.

My fiancé took me to a sexual health clinic here in Việtnam, where it got confusing.

They took all the tests - blood, swab, and even something just inside the urethra.

After a short wait they some to my fiancé. Next I know I’m paying $1,200 for something she said they can help make go away. Bear in mind I’m going with the flow as no one can answer my specific question, “what do I have?”.

This said, I am taken upstairs where, you guessed it, I’m given medicine by an excruciating catheter, no anesthetic.

Then I’m put under some kind of red light device where topical cream was put on the spots, and I am given an IV drip of gonciclovir.

Later I’m told it is herpes, albeit still with confusion. Basically I’m trying to figure out why I just paid $1,200 to treat an incurable virus.

All this said, has anyone ever heard of something like this? If it is relevant, the itchy ness behind the knees is becoming more like poison ivy (it’s not ivy, no exposure here).

I appreciate any advice.
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207091 tn?1337709493
I'm sorry you're going through this.

First, did you get treated with Ganciclovir? That's a medication for cytomegalovirus (CMV), which is in the herpes family of viruses, but it's herpes simplex, the STD we all think of.


If you were given that in your urethra, via catheter, I have no words for that. That's meant to be given intravenously, like through an IV.

There is a topical ophthalmic gel for the eye, but that couldn't be used in a catheter.

Can you get your blood work?

What you describe doesn't sound like herpes, and genital herpes is easily treated - not cured - with an antiviral like Valtrex or acyclovir.
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Thank you for your response.

It's difficult to communicate with the medical staff as "Herpes" does not translate, and the information they are giving my fiance does not sound like herpes, but from what I've read online, it seems to be herpes.

That said, I will ask for the blood work today. I forget to say, if it is relevant, I've had oral herpes since middle school, pre-romantic encounters.

The gonciclovir was given intravenously, while they administered what I am assuming was acyclovir on the affected spots. I will ask what, specifically, was done with the catheter.  

I will update once I get more information today.

So it sounds like they treated you for CMV as well as herpes.

I've never once heard of acyclovir being used in a catheter. I did a google search and can't find anything, either. There is a liquid option for children or people who can't swallow pills, and an IV solution, but there isn't anything to be used in a catheter.

I did find some things about gonciclovir being used for herpes zoster - shingles - but not much.

I'll be interested to see what you can find out.

I'm still working on identifying exactly what the issue is as my fiance was not able to join me yesterday on my follow up, and it seems my translator app does not make it clear when I ask "where does it say I am positive" on the blood work. Is there a common acronym on blood results to identify herpes?

To clarify, I still don't know what was administered via the catherter. My fiance will specifically ask that, among other questions today. They apply a topical cream directly to the affected spots and groin area, with a heat lamp whilst I am being given gonciclovir from an IV drip.

The entire thing is still a mess, and once I get back to my home (which has a limited clinic) I will ask for blood work.

Can I ask, does genital herpes normally present itself with redness, swelling, and itchiness on the penis shaft? Its clearing up, and no new spots have appeared. There is no pain at all, just the itchiness.

I'll update this evening after follow up.
The only thing I could find that they might use a heat lamp or a UV lamp for is psoriasis, and psoriasis could cause the symptoms you have.  


I don't know what it would say in Vietnamese, but in English, the testing results would look something like this:

Culture results:  "HSV isolated" - it might indicate type 1 or 2, if they typed it, so it might say, "HSV2 isolated"

Blood tests:  Depending on the test, it would look something like,

"HSV1 IgG 8.9
HSV2 IgG 10.6" - your numbers would be different

If you just had a combo test that didn't differentiate the types, it might look like, "HSV1 & 2 IgG 18.4"

It could also be an IgM test, and not an IgM. It could also say positive or negative, and not give a number.

Have your fiance ask about psoriasis, and what testing they did for herpes, and what was given in the catheter.

I'm sorry you are going through this. I can't imagine how frustrating and scary it is.

So it's been many many months since this post. Thank you for your last detailed response.

I'm still in Vietnam due to travel restrictions, and as such haven't returned to a clinic. That said, however, I haven't had any Herpes like symptoms since April. I was never actually able to confirm anything, and am only 75% convinced I was diagnosed with Herpes. I will follow up as soon as I return to a Western clinic.

Recently, however, I have a reappearance of a symptom from April, and I've done more research.

Small white bumps appear, overnight, every couple of weeks. They are painless, and have no feeling. They are circular. Being one of those people that can't help but remove it, I removed them. Unlike pimples, they are under the skin. A rubbery like substance is removed, white in color. There is some bleeding when removed.

They appear on the lower penis shaft (smaller bumps and hard substance), pubic hair area, and thigh area. The thigh and pubic area bumps are easy to move and bleed more. They heal and that's about it. No red bumps or itching.

The closest thing I can find is milia. Have you had any experience with this? I have non-graphic photos of the white bump and subsequent rubbery white substance when removed. Is there a way to send these?

Thank you again for your time and patience on this site.
I'm really sorry I'm just now seeing this.

I have no experience with milia, but it sounds like it could be that. I found this - https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320953#home-remedies

That has some things you can do - other than removing them yourself - that might help, and they are things you can do in Vietnam.

Here's a more detailed article - https://www.healthline.com/health/milia#symptoms

I hope it helps, and you get to travel soon. Stay safe!!
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