Dr. Tom answers questions about herpes, Page 1

Do you have any questions or concerns about what Herpes is, how it's spread, about the virus itself?
Receive advice from Dr. Tom Neblett, a Doctor who has devoted much of his life to the study of viruses and Sexually Transmitted Diseases.



What is IGG and IGM?


Dear Dr. Tom:

Hi I have been tested of HSV1 and 2 and the results are IGG type 1 Negative and IGG type 2 Negative. But My IGM type 1 Positive IGM type 2 Positive. Can you translate the result for me??? Where did I get the virus???

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Anonymous Immunoglobulin Questioner:

Immunoglobulins (Ig or IG) function within the bloodstream (there are at least three immune types, sometimes more). Immunoglobulins provide the protective proteins called antibodies. When an infectious microbe gets into the body, the host's antibodies (or immunoglobulins) go to work to protect the host. This is the 1st pass to try to curtail an infection. The earliest protective antibody proteins (globulins) tend to respond with a specific type of immunoglobulin named type G. Hence, the first protective immunity tends to respond by the IgG. In other words the earliest protective antibodies (IgG) are acting quickly against the infection. Later, the IgG response will decline, and then another Ig immunoglobulin calls IgM or type M, and this later response by the body protects the host for the later and higher levels of the antibodies type M.

Back to cases. Your results suggest that neither HSV1 and HSV2 no longer give this level of immunity from you. However, you have IgM antibodies against both viruses. This cannot tell why, but the results suggest that you had an old infection which has subsided from the IgG antibodies, but the IgM antibodies are still there tending to protect the immune system. In other words, the IgG phase has passed and you're in the IgM phase.

There's always the possibility that some cross reactivity from an antigen (similar as an identity chemical of one of the HSV1 or HSV2) may have elicited a response from your immune system. These are called partial antigens and your immunoglobulins could have possible responded to another (different but similar) virus. This is totally speculative but could explain if you have never acquired either of these viruses. Also, there are persons who have acquired HSV and never became aware.


Dear Dr. Tom:

My 23 month old daughter currently has an outbreak of what a doctor visibly called a herpes outbreak. No culture was taken and no advice other than it takes ten days to clear up. We are not rich and I worry that my net worth and inability to provide my daughter with expert medical care/coverage, may result in unnecessary problems. Please offer any advice that may help as my daughter is in pain and hardly eating, and I am worried about her health now and in the future. Thank you in advance for your kind consideration in this matter.

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Mother of 23 Month Old Daughter:

Assuredly, that child should have received additional medical attention. The physician might have followed up additionally when she was diagnosed with the herpes.

The local pharmacist might offer one of several across-the-counter herpes remedies. Refer to the ?Diet and Nutrition? section of this site and provide foods high in lysine and low in arginine. Note that peanuts or peanut butter is not a good choice. Also good hygiene is imperative to prevent spreading the virus.

I hope all will be fine for you and the little girl.

Dear Dr. Tom:

I had a severe outbreak of genital herpes six years ago, I was told it was HSV Type 1 and would never experience another outbreak again, which I didn't for six years nor did I ever think about the horrible incident again.

However, last year I developed another outbreak, completely similar to the intial one six years prior and subsequent ones as well. Is that common for the virus to lay dormant for so many years and return so vigilantly?

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Poster Who Asks About Dormant Herpes:

Yes. HSV1 can hide within the nerve ganglia and the virus can re-appear many years later. The herpes disease can never be irreversible. The reason for such recurrency is not exactly known.

Dear Dr. Tom:

I am currently in a debate with a roommate about the issue of herpes. Our question is how do they test for herpes and how long can a person be a carrier without showing symptoms? Also, can a person catch herpes while wearing a condom? Thank you for your time.
Molly

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Molly:

A person can be tested for herpes several ways. An examination can be preformed by a physician, and a serologic test or a viral culture can determine infection, however, most doctors will want a reason for any of these tests. Some persons have inapparent herpetic infections; these seem to be akin to bacterial carriers. However, such infections can be detected by serologic means, even though they are asymptomatic.

Most condoms act as a barrier between the virus and a target. Remember, viruses are extremely tiny and may pass through the pores of some condoms. You can visualize attempting to drive a golf ball against a chain wire fence. Many of the golf balls will drop before the fence mesh will not pass through. However, some will go through the mesh. Condoms are extremely good barrier protectors; nonetheless, virus particles can pass occasionally.

Dear Dr. Tom:

I hope you can answer my questions today. I never thought I had herpes Until now. My girlfriend gets bladder infections when we have sex, so I looked everything up on the internet. Then, I carefully examined my penis the last month and noticed strange things. I never get pain from anything but I noticed the rough area on the head sometimes goes RED and a few of the (head of the pin sized) rough areas slightly enlarge. It does not look like any thing foreign but the regular skin enlarging slightly. Then after a few days I can see very very small yellowish white flakes easily wiped off. Is this herpes or regular skin shedding? No pain, no tingling. I'm confused and need help now.

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Male Concerned About Having Herpes:

You and your girlfriend should be examined by a doctor either together or singly. Some females have been suspected of having a urinary tract infection and have been diagnosed as HSV infected instead. Likewise, peculiar sensations or disturbances of your penis could be herpes, or there are several other conditions including some other sexually transmitted diseases. A professional will help diagnose your condition and relieve your anxious anticipation. A gynecologist is possibly already caring for your girlfriend, and either your family practitioner or a dermatologist would be advantageous to you.

Dear Dr. Tom:

I'm interested in a girl who says she has herpes. Her ex-boyfriend cheated on her and acquired herpes, and passed it on to her when he performed oral sex on her. This happened 2 years ago and she has never had an outbreak. Her doctor told her she has Type 1 herpes.

If I were to become intimate with her, how big of a risk is there for me to contract it while using a condom if she has no symptoms or sores?

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Poster Asking About a Girl Who Says She Has Herpes:

Seemingly, the girl contracted herpes from an old boyfriend, and the girl experienced cunnilingus from the old lover. Her doctor diagnosed her as HSV-1. How did she know? Examination, serologic result, culture?? It is quite possible that this girl never experienced an outbreak, even though she had HSV-1. Some persons have not shown symptoms up to 5 years.

This virus can have survived deep within the tissues and have an inapparent infection. Assume that a sneaky virus is around somewhere; be protective.

Dear Dr. Tom:

Hi, my name is Danny. I'm afraid that my partner has spread herpes to me because we had unprotected sex. She told me that she has 1st.degree herpes and it can only be spread if I had oral sex with her, but she performed oral sex on me. I'm afraid I might be affected in the near future how long does it take for this disease to become activated. I'm very well concerned!

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Danny:

Your message seems a bit unclear. Your partner has herpes, seemingly she has ?1st degree?, that means most likely herpes type 1. It seems as though you were having oral sex, rather than penetration. In either case, you used no condom.

OK, you wish to determine if you acquired herpes infection by performing oral sex , which is referred to as cunnilingus, upon the woman. If she has herpes type 1, then she may not have transmitted herpes to her genital area, so if only she has HSV-1 orally, you may not have contracted herpes this time. However??? On the other hand, if she performed, what is called fellatio, upon the male organ, and she has HSV-1 orally, she may have infected you in that way.

If what we seem to have determined is that you may have acquired herpes type 1 from your partner, HSV-1 can occur within a few days, perhaps 2-4 days. We know of another case when the lesions began symptoms within hours; however, this is rare. Perhaps the itching, aching, flu symptoms, sometimes sores and bumps can subside within 7- 10 days. In some situations, symptoms may remain as long as up to 20-30 days, again, rarely. Herpes-1 is the lesser uncomfortable and virulence type. Many times, those who break-out with HSV-1 infections may experience recurrences infrequently, maybe only once a year or so. Some family doctors tend to slough HSV-1 infections to indifference. It is quite a bit different to the poor patient who is the sufferer.

Dear Dr. Tom:

I am a 26 year old man living in Atlanta GA. Two years ago, my then girlfriend, had an affair. I forgave her and took her back. I was madly in love with her and wanted to marry her. Afterwards she found out that she had contracted genital Herpes. She informed me BEFORE we ever had intercourse again. I told her I loved her and that we would get through it. We were very careful and she told me I must tell her if I ever had any symptoms. We were together for 5 years and I never, ever strayed outside of our relationship. I never had any kind of discomfort/symptoms that I could recognize.

Recently we broke up and I knew I had to get tested before I moved on to another relationship. The test I took was an older and basically inconclusive test at a cheap clinic. All it said is that I "might" have herpes. I do not have medical insurance and do not have a lot of money. I know that I must have the Western Blot test (or something similar) that is as close to 100% accurate. I do not have a doctor. I need to know about finding a doctor who will take my blood and send it to Seattle to have the test done as cheaply as possible. I'm in an extremely tight financial bind. Is there a particular kind of doctor I need to go to?
D.

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear D:

Virtually all clinical laboratories within the U.S. will process testing specimens only when requested from a licensed physician, and the laboratory will also provide such final testing results only from a physician. You do not necessarily need specifically to go to a dermatologist, but that would be a good choice. A family practitioner could also assist you. In either case, one of these doctors will process your medical complaints and determine the testing procedure.

You might be accessible to a social hygiene clinic where procedures relating to sexually transmitted diseases are the only such procedures performed. Usually there will be at least one such clinic within each public health county facility. Some states may differ. The least expense will be found from one of the social STD clinics.

Dear Dr. Tom:

I have contract herpes from my wife. We were married about two years ago and have not had a problem. She has cold sores about 4 times a year. We tried oral sex and guess what? Yep, I got it now. They have appeared in two places, on the shaft and at the base of it. The problem is that it will go away for about 3 days to a week and then be back for a week. This has been going on for about two months now. Going to a doctor is OUT. I live in a small town and everyone would know. I tend to break them open and then put anti-bacterial cream on them. I have become so depressed that I am worried about our marriage. My wife tells me she has no burning or itching in the genital area. Mine always stays in the same place. She wants to have sex alot but using a condom for me is like nothing at all. No feeling. I am in my 50's and my wife is in her 30's. We love each other dearly but I am about at the end of my rope. Is there something I can do to help without taking drugs. We have no insurance, so it is hard for us. Does L-Lysine work? I have read on some sites that it seems to help the virus stay dormant....PLEASE can you help us? Thanks

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Poster Who Has Contracted Genital Herpes:

Seemingly, you wish to find something without ?drugs?; I mean that you pertain to the prescribed drugs necessary from a physician. A good bit of information is available from the Internet about L-lysine. Also, your public library may have several volumes that deal with herbal medicines, including lysine. Many people with herpes have taken lysine and other herbal remedies with much relief. You can purchase these products on the Internet safely, using a secure server, or you might drive to a larger city where malls may include a shop selling natural vitamins and herbs, etc. These clerks have been quite informative, and herpes is an actively requested armamentarium. Sometimes a friendly pharmacist may also offer alternative compounds.

Do not break the vesicles. The fluid contained within is infectious.

Please refer to Dr. Amy for further suggestions to enhance your sexual experiences. I hope you will seek relief from your extreme discomfort.

Dear Dr. Tom:

Dear Dr.Tom: My name is CC, and I am diagnoised with oral herpes virus. I was wondering if you can answer this question for me. I read up on herpes and that it is only contagious when you have the sores on your mouth and I also called a herpes hotline and they said it is only contagious when the sores are on your mouth and I want to know so I won?t spread this virus to anyone. I was also on the herpes chat room, and people who had it for years, they say you can still spread it. I want to know for sure before it is too late. Thank you for taking the time out to read this and if you can?t answer this question please find someone who can because this is verry important to me.
Sincerely, CC

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear CC:

Current data about oral herpes reports you CAN transmit the virus even though no symptoms are evident.

This means that the virus is capable of escaping from the ganglion cells where it has resided after its initial infection. Ganglia are nerve cells close to the spinal cord. Some of the viruses have emerged from the ganglia and impose upon cells of the epithelium and the mucosa. These are shedding viruses. The symptoms do not show or are subclinical conditions, and the host manifests no apparent signs of sores or blisters. On this subject , the people from the herpes chat room have the accurate information.

Dear Dr. Tom:

I have a couple of questions for you. I recently have had sex (unprotected) with a guy. He did not tell me he had any kind of STD's. Two days after we had sex, I noticed itching around my private areas. I went to the doctor (Did not say anything about it because I thought it was no big deal). The itching is the major part of this discomfort. I cannot even sleep. Can I have herpes? If so, can I grow out of it. I am relatively young. How can I know I have herpes for a fact,before I bring the subject up with my mom. Should I ask the partner I was with?
Need to know

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Need to Know:

Never mind about the idea of "being no big deal"!

As you said, you experienced unprotected sex. You had sex with your guy AND with every other sexual partner that he had, likewise. If your guy has herpes, or even if he does not have herpes, he may also be capable of transmitting other sexual diseases. Both you and your partner should have undergone testing with a physician.

One cannot grow out of a herpes infection. The disease is irreversible. Your age has nothing to do with this infection. It is imperative that the prospect of other sexual infections be examined for you, as well as herpes. Consider the possibility of gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis or HIV, beyond the request to have herpes laboratory testing. A number of antiviral herpes compounds can be prescribed to increase your comfort level. You can undergo treatment and your parents need not know unless you request?

Dear Dr. Tom:

I am 18, and I was just diagnosed with herpes, and I have a lot of questions about life after finding out. I have been depressed for weeks and don't understand this whole thing... When can I have sex? When can't I? Will each of my partners get this? I?m very scared about my future, if anyone could fill me in on some suggestions and experiences I would greatly appreciate it!
Thank you! Shocked

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Shocked:

Your information indicates your age, but your gender being questionable, it seems a possibility that you may be a young woman. However, the difference may have little relevance, the main facts you have stated are that you have acquired herpes and it seems that the world collapsed against you. Herpes is one of the biological pestilents for those who have it, yes, but knowledge is power. You must remember that the disease is irreversible, but informed people live fulfilled lives. Your quest for answers is a positive step toward handling your diagnosis in a responsible manner.

Perhaps you may have determined what type of herpes you have. Your type may be helpful as a guide toward other medical aspects of your life. You can still enjoy satisfying sexual relationships, but obviously, there are certain curtailments about transmitting the virus to other partners. Your determination whether to/not is that for you alone. Dr. Amy, the sex therapist on this site, stresses the importance for barrier protection; she even provides specific instructions for constructing dental dams. Dr. Amy also conveys alternative suggestions to enhance your sexual experience, so please refer to her advice on this subject. As a woman, you may also have the need to seek counsel about pregnancy later in life.

Seemingly, you may have sought some medical advice since you have been diagnosed with this disease. A suggestion should be to consult with someone who has far more answers than the usual prattle from your contemporaries. A professional should assist you. Such a person could be a gynecologist (as you may be a woman); a dermatologist or an infectious diseases physician could be solicited for physical treatment, or a psychologist for your emotional treatment. I have found where sexually transmitted diseases are concerned, some family physicians may not totally understand their limitations. At my major medical center, such patients are directed to the Dermatology and Infectious Diseases departments.

Dear Dr. Tom:

My mother was just diagnosed with Herpes and I would like to find out more about the disease. The doctor told her that hers would probably never show up again. Does this mean that after she is through with the medication that she is no longer able to spread the disease?

And I would also like to know that herpes are just like cold sores so does that mean that if someone gets a cold sore they automatically have herpes? Thank you for taking the time to look at my questions! It is greatly appreciated!
Siri

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Siri:

There are two common types of herpes. There are others, but we will not concern ourselves with those at this time. Herpes is transmissible; the infection is responsible for untold discomfort and misery, and the causative microbe is a virus. Unfortunately, once the virus has invaded your body, the microbe will remain forever deep in certain nerve cells. Antibiotic drugs will not stop the progress of herpetic infection. Several antiviral drugs may be prescribed by doctors for patients with herpes. But even though medication bouts have been completed, this cannot be a certainty that the transmissibility of the virus is also completed. It is now known that latent or shedding sources occur in many cases.

Herpes type I is quite often related to the mouth and lips and is commonly referred to as "cold sores" or "fever blisters". The doctor has indicated that your mother may never experience the sores again. However, this infection may be transmissible to others. Often adults, unknowingly, transmit herpes to infants during kissing. This is how children may have the infection, even though they may have no sexual activity. Cold sores are also responsible for many genital herpetic infections acquired during oral sex. The herpes type I has lesser discomfort than the more virulent type known as herpes type II. Type II is more commonly associated with sexual activity, but both types I or II can be experienced either orally or genitally.

Dear Dr. Tom:

What if you're about to have sex with a female but your hormones are at a stand still? The whole time you're rubbing your private area against her's to try to get your hormones up, but never got to the point to insert your private area into hers. Can you still catch herpes even if you don't insert your private area into hers?
Nervous

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Nervous:

While you have experienced penile flaccidity, your female partner has stimulated her sexual system and has lubricated fluids from her vagina and outer portions of her genital area. If your partner has herpes or possibly other sexual infectious diseases, the female fluids may be transmissible. Even though you may not experience vaginal penetration, these external fluids can be contagious.

Dear Dr. Tom:

Does one have a discharge when you have the herpes symptom?

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Poster Who Asks About a Discharge:

No, a person does not discharge from herpes infection it self.

One can have a discharge from a penile ejaculation when the owner is infected from herpes. However, this has nothing to do with the herpes. The discharge is a normal physiologic function. Likewise, vaginal fluid is capable of emission during sex play as well as during orgasm. In either case, the fluid then may be capable of transmitting the disease. Discharges from the human body that may transmit herpetic infection are saliva and sweat as well. Thereby, herpes can be either physical or insidious.

Dear Dr. Tom:

The girl who I'm dating just confronted me and says she has Herpes. It?s not active and says she received it orally. We have not had sex, but we do have oral sex, I go down on her and she goes down on me. Am I at risk?

I really like the girl, but is it worth the risk. From my understanding there is not a cure. If we did have sex...would a condom be enough protection?
Thank you for the advice. Darrel

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Darrel:

If the lady has herpes, she can become infectious to others. If she contracted herpes orally, she most likely has acquired type HSV-1. If she performs fellatio upon you, yes, you are at risk. Once the herpes virus has infected the human body, the virus will remain even deep within the body, forever. Many herpetic persons may be asymptomatic but are still capable of transmitting the virus. Hence, the infectious pathway can follow from her mouth to your penis. If you have not already acquired your infection, you should follow barrier protection and use a condom. The primeval mechanism to prevent transmission from a source to a target is to apply a barrier. That should apply to the vagina or to the penis.

Dear Dr. Tom:

I have what looks like finger acne around the base of my index finger's nail. Could that be herpes?

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Poster Who Asks About Finger:

Most of us are poor diagnosticians. Consult with a physician who would be the best judge of this condition. There could be many conditions that describe these symptoms. See a professional.

Dear Dr. Tom:

My name is Christine and I have had genital herpes for about 4 months. I had a really bad outbreak about a week or two ago and I went to my doc to get Acyclovir to help with the healing. Anyways, the sores have closed up and are basically done breaking out, but now the skin where they were is still raised a little as if they were still there. My question is, will the swelling of the skin go down and is it still a little raised because they are just healed recently...I just finished my medication yesterday. I hope you can give me an answer soon...and thank you:)
Christine

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Christine:

We cannot provide diagnostic information specific to your situation. If the swelling does not subside, you should consult with your doc again. If your practitioner is not a dermatologist, perhaps you should consult to do so.

Dear Dr. Tom:

What are the visible signs of oral and genital herpes. Could you give a good description or a picture?

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Poster Who requests a Picture:

I do not believe that a picture of these visible signs can give justice for you. However, you may consult through one of the web search engines and request HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS. There have been excellent color photographs of both HSV-1 and HSV-2 lesions.
See: Google:

1) Virus Diseases [Drake, et.al.)
2) Herpes simplex-information for patients
3) Academy Assn of Dermatology re: Herpes

Dear Dr. Tom:

How soon after contact with an infected person do the symptoms typically show up? Also, is it possible for the symptoms to worsen with each breakout? I ask because my fianc? recently was diagnosed with genital herpes and the outbreak was very severe as far as him having multiple lesions all around his penis. He claims that he did not cheat and that he first noticed some bumps about a year ago but he didn't think anything of it. Aren't the bumps usually painful? We have been having sex frequently for almost 2 years and I have never noticed anything. There was also never a time when we went for weeks without having sex.

I haven't had any symptoms of genital herpes but I have had it on my finger for several years, though I'm careful not to touch anything when it breaks out. My fianc??s lesions have not quite healed and we had sex with a condom 4 days ago. Now my finger is starting to break out. I'm just curious about how quickly the disease shows up after you've been infected. I'm not asking if you think he cheated, I just want to know what your medical opinion is given all of this information. Thanks,
Just Wondering

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Just Wondering:

The typical HSV infection can cycle between 4 days to about 10 days. Some primary infections have manifested symptoms within hours, while others have experienced up to 20 or 30 days (rarely). Sometimes breakouts can recur more painfully. Also, a number of conditions may enhance such conditions as physiologic wear-and -tear and stress. Herpes whitlow is quite likely HOW you have been infected on your finger. This condition occurs from nurses, convalescent assistants, physical therapists, dentists and sometimes from physicians. The condition arises from HSV-1. Have you considered the thought that you may have infected him, if you touched him in his genital area with your finger?

You and your fianc? might seek professional advice such as a dermatologist, perhaps an infectious diseases physician, and/or your gynecologic practitioner.

Do you break herpes blisters?



Dear Dr. Tom:

Hi! It's great to see that there is someone to write to about concerns of herpes. A few things I'd like you to respond to:

1. I've encountered my first outbreak of genital herpes (I'm male; in my early 30's) and I'm taking Famvir pills for it. I'm almost finished with my first 10 pills and yet, some of the lesions dried up and then a whole other set became apparent around the same area. I'm being VERY cautious of washing my hands, using my own towels, staying dry, etc. What could be a possible reason for fresh lesions to start?

2. Will exposure to sunlight be harmful to my condition? (I've already got a suntan.) If so, how?

3. Will exposure to lake water have a negative affect on the genital herpes?

4. I've been reading quite often about hsv1 and hsv2 to educate myself. One thing that seems to "stump" me is the topic of shedding. Is there an example you might be able to give me about what shedding would exactly consist of?

5. Is it better to break the lesions so that they dry out more quickly, or leave them alone (which I have been doing other than putting the famvir cream on as well)?
Your comments and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
From: concerned male

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Concerned Male:

1. There is a possibility that your suppressive therapy may allow sub- clinical herpes shedding. Episodic events are known in the literature, and HSV suppressive therapy transmission is unknown.

2. Actinic rays can damage the skin. Suggest a dermatologist who can offer anything which may be helpful about your HSV therapy.

3. Your lake condition of HSV infection does not seem a negative effect. If you had open vesicles and an open ulcer, lake waters might acquire a skin infection. However, an extremely chill could possibly create a stressful physiologic condition that might cause an episode.

4. Shedding means no manifestation of clinical disease, no recognition, unapparent, yet the mucosal tissues are capable of transmitting the HSV to others. Data know that genital HSV-2 shed perhaps 90% of the virus asymptomatically.

5. Do not break the vesicles. Leave them alone. The fluid contained within it is infectious, and the opened vesicles can capable ulcers.


Dear Dr. Tom:

This may sound like a stupid question but can one contract genital or even oral herpes from having frequent baths without any outbreaks present? The reason why I ask is because my father has informed me that one could get herpes from the soap scum in a bath that gets in contact with one's genitals. I was told not to take frequent baths in order to avoid this possibillty...can soap scum give you herpes??? Based on what I have read on this site there is no indication that this is true...I believe it is an old wives tale, am I right? Thank you, 'Would like to take prolonged, daily baths.'

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear ? Would like to take prolonged, daily baths ?

Do you have herpes now?

Do you also share your bath with your father?

I know no indication that soap scum can transmit herpes. However, the medical literature does contain strange facts. The only situation I know is where an infant was bathed in the same water by the mother who had gonorrhea. It is possible that auto-infection from one of a person?s anatomy can be transmitted to other parts of the body. However, this would most likely to have been where the original lesions were active.

Dear Dr. Tom:

A couple of weeks ago, I had oral sex with my girlfriend. At the time, I had the beginning stages of a cold sore (just a little bump on my lip)...a couple of weeks later, she feels a bump in her vagina...is it possible that I gave her a genital herpes virus?? If so, what can we do???

Thank you,
Concerned

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Concerned:

We cannot give diagnoses about you and your girlfriend, but we can only suggest that these are possibly herpes indications. The indications are strongly that you probably gave your partner a herpetic infection. The best way for you and to your partner to be diagnosed, is to consult with your doctor.

Dear Dr. Tom:

I recently received oral sex from my girlfriend about 8 days ago. We are both virgins and neither of us are infected with genital herpes. However, my girlfriend had a regular cold sore on the side of her mouth and now I am very worried that she gave me genital herpes. Can you tell me if this is possible and what actually are the chances of becoming infected with genital herpes as a result of this cause. Your help is greatly appreciated. Worried/18

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Worried/18:

Your girlfriend had a cold sore on her mouth which means that she is infected with, most likely, herpes type 1. If your partner performed fellatio on you, meaning she applied her cold sore onto your penis, you might acquire HSV 1. If you became infected via your genitals, then this would be classified as genital herpes, but most likely as infectious HSV 1.

Dear Dr. Tom:

I have had recurring cold sores on the mouth off and on for pretty much my whole life. These are usually brought on by stress and heal on their own within 8 days. I have had one for about 6 days now, and am in the healing stage where the lesion has scabbed over and is scaling off.

Unfortunately, in the heat of the moment, I performed oral sex on my monogamous, non infected partner. While it's too late to feel bad now, my girlfriend feels that her risk of exposure is minimal due to the sore's healing. Is she correct? Or is her risk of exposure just as great?

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Poster Who Asks About Cold Sore:

The risk of exposure is essentially the same.

Dear Dr. Tom:

Is it possible to still contract herpes if your mate has ejaculated inside of you even if he or she hasn't had a outbreak in 5 months? I need to know. Sincerely,

Thank you "Little P"

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear "Little P":

Yes, it is possible if your mate has ejaculated "inside of you".

The oral cavity and the vaginal cavity have the same soft, moist, warm type tissues. With respect to the herpes virus, the ejaculation fluid becomes a medium and makes little distinction between the mouth or the vagina. The virus is able to infect either site. The issue the duration of 5 months after the last outbreak does not matter. The reason is that some herpes infections have been known to secrete the virus asymptomatically. Thereby, the ejaculation is risky. A condom can offer protection.)

Dear Dr. Tom:

I have been with my fiance for 4 years and never contracted herpes. Is it possible for him to have had it for that long and for me to have not contracted it until now?

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Poster Who Asks About Her Recent Infection:

Yes. Latent or sub-clinical herpes can remain undetected for many years.

Dear Dr. Tom:

My roommate has genital herpes and I was wondering if I used the same soap that she used in the shower if I could get herpes as well. I was wondering what type of personal things to avoid or situation so I do not get herpes.

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Poster Who Asks About Sharing With a Roommate:

Roommates who would live in a compatible atmosphere where one has herpes, personal items should not be shared. Avoid sharing such items as wash cloths, towels, tooth brushes, solid type deodorants and cosmetics. Also, do not share underwear, hosiery, and swimsuits. Some bath soaps may retain microbial organisms. However, I do not know of any cases of herpetic infection caused this way. Nonetheless, do not share your soap.

Dear Dr. Tom:

I have had genital herpes for 24 years now. I know how I got it, I was naive, because this was before the days of herpes, and the public awareness. My boyfriend told me that the sore on his penis was from friction, so like a dope, I believed him and we had sex. I am now 46, I did not marry or date a "nice man" or ever have children because of having herpes. 4 years ago my doctor told me that the painful cold sore in the roof of my mouth was herpes. This also happened 9 months after breaking up with my boyfriend of 2 years, who claimed not to have herpes, and we did not practice safe sex . My ex boyfriend, however, had mentioned his ex wife blamed him 19 years ago for giving the disease to her, although he claimed to never have it. I have been very angry since this "new" diagnosis, and in my mind am blaming him. So my question is, could my Herpes have spread from my genitals to my mouth after 19 years for no reason?

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Poster Who Asks About Spreading Herpes:

There is always a fundamental cause for any infection. The infectious agent, in this case, herpes, the vehicle transfers the infectious agent, and the susceptible host then becomes infectious. Unlikely, genital herpes does not spread except to the mouth by means of some carrier.

Dear Dr. Tom:

I was wondering how long a person could be infected with herpes before any symptoms are noticed? Is it possible to have the virus and not have any knowledge of it?

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Poster Who Asks About Symptoms:

Yes. It is possible to have the virus and have no apparent knowledge. Some adults have not known since birth.

Dear Dr. Tom:

I went through a really awful divorce; and was not interested in sex for 2 years. I recently met a man I really like; and we did have sex. A few days later, I got about 3 white blisters up around my clitoris. There is also some redness there. And, it ITCHES. I haven't had any other symptoms like flu, etc. I don't have any red bumps, or clustered blisters. I am not swollen or red any other place "down there".

Does this sound like herpes? Or, is it possible to get these blisters just from the friction of having sex again after such a long time?

I'm too embarrassed to even go to a doctor (especially since I am 50 years old, and should know better!); but scared.
Thanks for being there. "Worried"

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear "Worried":

Your symptoms seem similar to herpes. You should contact a doctor who will know. Your age and,? should know better? have no application. A physician can help your condition and ease your anxiety. Stop being "Worried".

Dear Dr. Tom:

I kissed a girl a couple of days ago and I suspect her of having oral herpes on her mouth. Is it possible that through kissing on the lips, that I can contract the disease to my penis and not my mouth?
from,
Skittles

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Skittles:

If the girl had suspected herpes on her mouth, then other parts of your body could likewise contract the disease through contact. You didn?t mention any contact with your penis. Activity, such as fellatio, would have put you at high risk of genital infection due to exposure to her oral lesions.

Dear Dr. Tom:

Apparently I am an asymptomatic carrier of the herpes simplex virus, and I want to know how I can tell if I will pass on the virus to anybody I kiss. I have never had a breakout, and I always avoid kissing anybody who has cold sores. One girlfriend of mine got cold sores after being with me, and I figured she had them before but she said she didn't. The girl I am now dating has just broken out in her first ever outbreak, leading me to believe I am a carrier. No other girl I have dated has gotten cold sores (to the best of my knowledge, some of them I am not in touch with anymore), only these 2. Without lesions, how can I pass herpes on, and when, and if I "go down" on a girl, can I give them genital herpes?

I performed cunnilingus on my current girlfriend that has just broken out, and I would like to know what the odds are on her getting genital herpes now as well. Yours sincerely, Pretty damn nervous

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Pretty Damn Nervous:

Request herpes laboratory testing, requiring both HSV-1 and HSV-2. If you find a positive result this will give many answers to your questions. If you are a carrier, you can transmit herpes to any of your lovers. This scenario has been reported by many visitors to this site where they have isolated this activity to be their point of infection. The reverse is also possible. I knew of a man who performed cunnilingus on a herpetic woman. He found a peculiar pattern of lesions around his mouth during outbreaks.

Dear Dr. Tom:

I have just been informed by my Doctor that I have the herpes virus (HSV 2) and have been in a relationship with the same person for approximately one year...prior to this relationship I was not sexually active for approximately one year and before that I was married for 13 years......my current partner has not had any signs or symptoms of this disease.....How did I contract the herpes virus?

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Poster Who Asks About His Contagion:

I have many questions before I could answer this request. Had you been sexually active during your 13 years of marriage? Was the former errant husband a possibility? Could your current partner have transmitted sub clinical genital herpes?

Dear Dr. Tom:

My 73 year old father in-law has just tested positive for herpes. He is diabetic and had minor heart surgery 2 months ago to correct a blockage. Our question is how will the herpes affect these two healthconcerns?
Thanxs, Lynda

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Lynda:

Your father- in-law is compromised clinically, meaning he is diabetic and has undergone a form of surgery. I would not determine his affect, but we know generally, physiologic stresses can enhance more frequent herpetic outbreaks. A physician should be contacted.

Dear Dr. Tom:

I am 27. I was diagnosed with Herpes Type 2 yesterday. This is the second outbreak (in the same location) I have had in 7 months (the first outbreak was diagnosed as shingles). It is located on my upper thigh/bikini line. Does this mean it is also on my genitals/inside me and I don't know it. Also, my current boyfriend of a year and half is the only man I have ever been with. We have had sex a total of 18 times and he has always worn a condom and never shown any signs. When I told him yesterday, he told me he had protected sex several times (5 years ago) with someone who had herpes. Will he show positive through blood tests?

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Anonymous:

I suggest a physician!

Dear Dr. Tom:

I have cold sores and I recently gave my partner oral sex, while I had a cold sore. Can he get genital herpes from my oral herpes?

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Poster Who Asks About Cold Sores:

Yes. Your cold sores come from HSV-1, and your partner is susceptible to that same virus. HSV-1 can have genital infections. Actually, in the ?Personal Experieneces? section, many posters on this site have shared their experiences about contracting genital herpes in this exact manner.

Dear Dr. Tom:

Is herpes zoster and genital herpes related? What's the difference between the two? My 7 year old son has contracted shingles, but I'm not sure how this happened - he has never had chickenpox, but he has been vaccinated. Neither his father, nor I have ever been diagnosed with genital herpes- or herpes of any kind for that matter... Are these two things even connected?
Jenny

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Jenny:

Herpes simplex virus 1 known as HSV-1, herpes simplex virus 2 known HSV-2 (widely infected with the genitals) and human herpes 3 known as Varicellovirus is the agent of chickenpox and zoster (shingles). Herpes 3 is also called varicella-zoster. Yes, these viral groups are distinct but connected.

Hypothetically, the chickenpox immunization has prevented your son?s clinical disease, but the varicella-zoster virus was contracted without being sub-clinical. Shingles arises from the same virus as that from chickenpox. In your described situation, the only virus implicated is the herpes 3. Hopefully, you should have had a discussion with your pediatrician about this. Remember, this was a hypothetically explanation.

Dear Dr. Tom:

How do couples avoid transmitting herpes to other partner over a long period of time? Do condoms have to be used every time? And if so, if a couple was trying to get pregnant, how is that possible without the risk of infection?
Thank You, Ray

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Ray:

1500 couples who had but one infected herpes partner were studied over 5 years by the hygiene diseases clinic from the University of Washington. These couples sexually abstained during episodic herpetic symptoms, used condoms, and used suppressive therapeutic, valacyclovir, 500 mg daily. The results reduced 75% of the symptomatic partner in the susceptible partner.

Dear Dr. Tom:

I would like to know if you have Herpes breakouts on your mouth do you also get them on your genitals?

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Poster Who Asks About Herpes Breakouts:

There can be several answers. Herpetic lesions that occur in the mouth do not necessarily accompany the genitalia. Oral herpes most likely have been HSV-1. Herpes genital infections most likely come from HSV-2. However, either type virus can occur from either body site. It is more likely the genital area became a situation of auto-infection having come initially from the oral cavity. In such a situation both infections came from the same virus type. Other body site lesions can be involved from the same virus type. These are infrequent, however.

Dear Dr. Tom:

If a fever blister located in the nostril appears, can it be spread to the genital area on a male through oral sex. Could that cause genital herpes on the male or would it be safe to have oral sex with the fever blister in the nostril?

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear One Who Asks About Fever Blisters:

Yes. Your question is somewhat unclear. One?s nares can transmit a fever blister on the hands and thereby can transfer the virus onto the penis and the genitals. Hence, the oral sexual partner might become infectious.

Dear Dr. Tom:

Is it possible to spread herpes to someone if you have oral sex even if there are no breakouts present?

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Poster Who Asks About Spreading Herpes:

Yes. The herpetic infectious human body can sometimes be considered capable of infectivity even without breakouts. Some people, referred to as "shedders", can spread the virus asymptomatically when they are showing no signs of herpes. These individuals may not even know that they are carriers.

Dear Dr. Tom:

Dear Dr. Tom: I just want to thank the people that have provided all this information, but there are some questions that I have regarding herpes. Is it possible to be infected by herpes if one is not sexually active (at all)? thank you!

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Poster Asking About Not Being Sexually Active:

Yes. Herpes may be transmitted by other than sexual means. E.g., infants can be infected by other family persons and visitors; eyes can be infected by autoinoculation or others' hands, saliva and other body fluids; herpes whitlow has been an occupational hazard resulting from physicians, dentists, or nurses handling patients without gloves; wrestlers can become infected by bodily contact; likewise, athletes can acquire herpes from soiled gym mats; a human bite can transmit herpes and infect the one bitten, et.al.

Dear Dr. Tom:

In January of 97, I was informed by my partner that he had herpes. When we had sex, he was not on a visible outbreak, but I went directly to my doctor for tests anyway. The doctor at the clinic ran a HSV-1 and HSV-2 blood test on me, but didn't do a pelvic examination. The test came back positive. But within this past time period, I have seen no visible blisters, and I am currently still with that same partner who infected me. I have been to a different doctor (county hospital district) and informed him that I tested positive by a blood test, but he told me to come back for treatment only when I had a visual sign of an outbreak, otherwise he couldn't do anything for me. My symptoms that I have noticed at certain times have been itching, some swollen areas that resemble a bite in my genital area, and blood in my stool at times. There are times when I feel run down, and have some sharp shooting pains in my pelvic area. Is it possible that I am positive for HSV-1 and HSV -2? And what can I do if I have no blisters present? Thank you,
Confused 23/F in Texas

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Confused 23/F in Texas:

A pelvic examination (colposcopic) might have revealed cervical evidence of herpes that is/was asymptomatic. Even though your partner was not experiencing an outbreak, he might be a viral shedder and perhaps transmitted it to you that way. Yes, you can have HSV-1 and HSV-2. The recovery of cervical herpes virus from asymptomatic women during colposcopy has been reported in the literature. I am unclear if you returned to your health care provider when you experienced the itching and swelling. That would be a good time to attempt to recover virus by culture method if such a recovery would be helpful. The nature of the blood in your stool and reasons for it being there should be evaluated.

Dear Dr. Tom:

I am extremely distressed!!! I don?t know what to do!!! I have had for quite some time, sores on my genitals. They are very odd. I have had various tests done, but I still do not know were I stand!!! The last test I had done has showed HSV I antibodies present at a slightly higher percentage than what would be considered safe. HSV II is just barely higher than normal. So then going by the numbers, I believe that means that I am contaminated. However, by reading various materials, what I go through does not really match any of the symptoms beside having sores. All of the other exams for everything else comes back negative. So, what is it that I have?!?!? I am extremely scared!!! The sores do not really have a pattern to come and go. I have been using an ointment cream called "lotrisone" which is the only thing that seems to help me. When I don't use it, the sores open without really healing by themselves. "Cortisone" cream helps at times as well. My doctor has recently prescribed after receiving the results of my last test, a pill called "acyclovir" 400mg, a generic form of "zovirax", for one week, however, this has had no affect for me?!?! Is this some form of new HSV?!?! I never have any itching, burning, mouth sores, or any of the other symptoms. What can I do? Where can I go?!?!
Please help me!!! Morphed

Dr. Tom's Response:


Dear Morphed:

From the information you have offered in your inquiry, your doctor seems to be treating you for a herpetic infection. You mention "tests" and antibody levels which suggests to me that you have only undergone serologic (blood) tests for herpes. If you have herpes, it is quite likely that the sores on your genitals would produce positive growth in culture tests for herpes.
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