[Question #1864] Concerned about Herpes or Another STD

42 months ago
Hi, I am worried that I have herpes or another std.  I have shown signs that concern me that I have herpes based on what I have read about symptoms online, but has been 6 months since any symptoms.  The last three women that I have had sex with have all gotten sick after we had sex (the first without a condom, the others with).  Two of them mentioned to me that they had severe pain in their necks (despite not having oral sex) about two days after first having sex with each, and felt ill afterwards.  The most recent felt very ill and had symptoms including nausea, exhaustion and joint pain and mentioned some lady part issues.  She was told she had some type of blood infection at the doctors.  However I did not go into details with her about it and the sickness seems to have cleared within a week or so.  I have had herpes igg test 5 times over the last year and an 8 panel test, every time coming up negative.  I'm concerned that I am somehow not responding to testing.    What should be my next course of action as far as testing goes? 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
42 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question.

There is nothing in your experiences, or that of your sex partners, that suggests you have herpes or any other STD. While it is true that herpes can cause nonspecific symptoms like headaches, generall feeling of illness, nausea, etc, those are never the only symptoms of herpes. They can accompany the first infection with HSV, along with painful genital blisters and sores, and usually tender swollen lymph nodes in the groin; but without these, the more general symptoms you report are rarely if ever caused by herpes. Further, the HSV IgG blood tests are highly reliable:  negative results prove for sure you do not have HSV2.

As for your partners' symptoms, I have to believe they are a coincidence in regard to sexual contact with you. As suggested above, their symptoms do not suggest herpes, and I agree with their doctors that they might have had some sort of mild viral infection. But such things are very common all the time, and it is unlikely you are the source of those problems. The only slight concern, however, is that one partner "mentioned some lady part issues". If her symptoms included genital sores, vaginal discharge, or pain in the pelvic region, then she should be checked for STDs. But even if that's the problem, I would be a lot less concerned about herpes than about gonorrhea, chlamydia, or syphilis.

Presumably your several "8 test panels" included syphilis and HIV testing, so you are unlikely to have either of these. Similarly, if you had a urine test for gonorrhea and chlamydia, those results also are reliable. However, blood tests are useless for gonorrhea and chlamydia. I can't think of any other STDs likely to be included in an 8 test panel that would be likely to explain any of this.

I'll leave things there for now. I may have more to say if you can provide more information about your latest partner's "lady part" problems, the results of her STD tests (if done), and more details about your own testing (e.g. urine vs blood tests for gonorrhea/chlamydia). But from what I know so far, I doubt you or your partners have any STD to explain any symptoms.

Best wishes--  HHH, MD


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42 months ago
Thanks Doctor Handsfield,  for the extremely well thought out and considerate response.  Your response was thorough so I don't really have much to follow up with, but would like to add one or two things.  As far as the women who described having women issues, she described them as painful and weird.  Unfortunately, I did not go into much detail asking her about it at the time.  She received a blood test and was told she had some kind of blood infection.  However, I know the IGG tests take awhile to be accurate.   I just want to be fair to future partners and cautious.  The previous two partners described neck pain so severe that they could hardly move after two days of initially having sex.   I guess I'm being paranoid believing that it's very likely I am the source of these issues.   Thanks for your previous response and any other details or advice you can give me.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
42 months ago
As you seem to understand, I can't say anything more on the basis what your partners told you. Certainly no STD would cause neck pain -- if related to sex, I would suggest sexual positioning etc. And hard to know what to make of "painful and weird". And in any case, if a partner has an STD, it wasn't necessarily from you; it could easily be from other past or recent partners.

Thanks for the thanks about our services. I'm glad to have helped.

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