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NEED Reassurance for Severe Anxiety Re: HSV2. No intercourse. What is my risk?

Background: I am a 25yo female. I have incredibly severe health anxiety and depression (diagnosed).

In January 2018, my current "partner" (we have never engaged in actual intercourse) was diagnosed with GHSV2 from one active lesion that appeared and was immediately swabbed. This was after multiple instances of unprotected intercourse (Oct 2016) with someone who had previously tested negative. A full year prior to the lesion appearing, (January 2017), he had what we now consider to be his first outbreak. Then there were no lesions but he had trouble urinating, slight pain when urinating, weak stream, and a low grade fever for about a month. He is not on daily therapy and only takes the acyclovair when experiencing an outbreak. He has had 3 instances in the last year of ONE lesion appearing in the same place, directly on his penis.

I had a blood test for HSV1 and HSV2 and tested negative soon after his diagnosis, though we have only ever had hand-to-genital (careful to avoid touching with fluids from the other party, always wash hands afterward) and minimal oral-to-genital contact. I've never had any kind of oral or genital symptom.

For the past few weeks, I have been under extreme stress with work/family. I have endometriosis and PMDD, so my PMS was in full swing. More sugar and chocolate than actual food, somewhat dehydrated, etc. A couple of times in the last 5 years I have also experienced UTIs, that I believe just improved on their own and didn't require medical treatment, but involved burning/urgency with urination, etc. and came in conjunction with my period to some extent.

This past weekend, he used his hand on me manually. He was not experiencing an outbreak, had not previously touched himself whatsoever that he can recall, and remained fully clothed the entire time. It was what I would consider more "aggressive" touching than usual. I was expecting my period, which came Sunday morning. Monday morning, I awoke with severe urgency/burning on urination and immediately freaked out. My partner then told me he noticed one lesion on his buttock (fully covered by his clothing) on Saturday night but had assumed it was a bug bite. More appeared by Monday morning leading him to believe it might be an outbreak. Therefore, my symptoms appeared 2 days after our contact, and he began to itch 24 hours after our contact.

My anxiety is now overwhelming. I am still experiencing slight burning/pain when urinating and slight urgency off and on. AZO otc meds for UTI pain relief were very effective, but made a UTI test at the doctor inconclusive. I've read about many cases when urethritis can occur even without enough bacteria to "register" on a standard UTI test for bacteria, but I've of course also read about "UTI" symptoms actually being a primary HSV2 outbreak. I am beside myself. My urine culture will not be back until Monday and I am afraid it will be negative for bacteria, thus leaving my anxiety with the only conclusion of HSV2.

THANK YOU for taking the time to read and help me.

Bottom line is, I would like to know:

1) What is my risk of transmission via infected male touching my vaginal area/urethra with presumed clean hands and no "active" lesions anywhere. Again, we have never had ANY penile/vaginal contact whatsoever.

Thank you so much.

3 Responses
207091 tn?1337713093
If he just toughed your genitals with his hands, the chances of you getting herpes from him are zero. He is ONLY infectious from his genitals. It doesn't matter if he has an outbreak or not - he is only infectious from the area in which he is infected. You will never get it from his hands.

He is infected in the genital area. Herpes infects nerve groups, and genital herpes infects the sacral ganglia. This is pretty much the area that is covered by boxer shorts. He can get an outbreak anywhere in this area. This is the only area he is infectious from.

Is he taking daily suppressive meds? That will greatly reduce the risk of transmission to you, should you decide to engage in any genital to genital contact, along with the use of condoms. You should both read the Herpes Handbook for more on this - https://westoverheights.com/herpes/the-updated-herpes-handbook/

I know it's tough with health anxiety, but really try hard to not make him feel like a walking herpes infection. I also hope you are getting help for your anxiety and depression. (I say all of this with compassion for both you and your partner, not criticism.)

Thank you so much for your response! This is very helpful. I do try not to make him feel self conscious about the diagnosis, and I try to keep my anxiety to myself as much as possible. But during this past week my urethral pain has gotten the best of me and I've been super paranoid and upset. It's difficult on all counts!

He is somewhat in denial about the diagnosis and doesn't like to talk about it, but I have researched and try to share helpful information in a positive way, while also maintaining boundaries that I and my anxiety are comfortable with.

That's part of the reason for my current anxiety episode... I thought by using only our hands we were being just about as safe as possible, and now that I'm experiencing these symptoms it's hard to accept that as fact. I'm so sorry to continue in the paranoia, but one more thing:

If he did unknowingly adjust himself, scratch an itch, or otherwise incidentally touch "the area covered by his boxers", particularly perhaps the area on his hip where he broke out 24 hours after our contact, am I at a significant risk for my symptoms being HSV2?

Thank you again. This community is a lifesaver.
207091 tn?1337713093
No, you are still at zero risk. If he touched an outbreak and then IMMEDIATELY touched your genitals, in theory, there may be a risk, but not like you describe.

Since you are experiencing recurrent bladder issues, talk to your doctor about this, especially if there is no bacteria. There is something called interstitial cystitis that you may have, or a more general syndrome called irritable bladder syndrome. On a side note - I was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis, and when I had a hysterectomy for my endometriosis, my bladder symptoms improved dramatically, so it could be related to your endo. Isn't being a woman just grand? :(

Just continue to work with your doctor. I hope you get some relief soon.
Thank you, thank you. That helps a lot.

I'm so sorry to hear you're suffering from IC - my doctor mentioned it yesterday as the probable cause (she is unaware of the genital contact for reasons too long to detail) and a good friend of mine was just diagnosed, so I am unfortunately pretty familiar. I personally have a hard time believing this is IC particularly because cranberry pills/juice have seemed to help relieve my symptoms this week, even if only temporarily. From my understanding, IC patients are pretty sensitive to that (and other similarly acidic things) all the time. I also do not typically experience urinary frequency like my friend and most patients do. My main symptoms are just urethral burning and general pelvic pain and urgency. I guess Monday I'll see what happened with the culture and go from there.... I pray these symptoms have dissipated by then. I haven't taken a day off in almost a year and I had to stay home from work today - the urgency and burning were terrible!

I haven't had these symptoms in probably 5 years, and the sudden onset coupled with our similarly timed contact/his outbreak has been a little too much to handle! But of course I'm also dealing with my period. Thank you again for the reassurance.
207091 tn?1337713093
Google Irritable Bladder Syndrome. I wasn't sure I ever had IC either, especially since the symptoms immediately got better with the hysterectomy. They aren't totally gone, but it was a remarkable improvement. They were always worse with my period, too. I never got a good explanation, but I hope you do. :)
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