[Question #2282] Herpes Question

44 months ago
Hello, I had sex with someone who has genital herpes about 12 weeks ago, I used a condom and took a course of Valtrex right after just out of fear, and I got a blood test to see if I already had it or not (I didn't). No symptoms for a while (about 6 weeks), then I started having a strange reaction at the site of a recent tattoo removal, thought herpes could have colonized it. But I got it cultured, came back negative, and got blood tested again at 7 weeks from possible exposure (negative). Used triamcinolone .1 for tattoo reaction, and it went away. Then, about 2.5 weeks later, I started getting small bumps on my penis, and a very itchy, dry reaction around my eyes, with small bumps around corners. A dermatologist looked at it all, said it was contact dermatitis, and prescribed more triamcinolone. That made it better, but whenever I stopped using the cream, the bumps came back. They are small, red, and a little itchy. I also have developed itchy bumps/scabs on my elbow, wrists/hand, and leg, and the tattoo reaction seems to be coming back again (same spot, but tattoo has long since healed). I got a blood test (Igg) done again this past week (11.5 weeks from possible exposure) and that came back negative, as well. But I don't understand why I am still having these symptoms. I am even starting to feel some tingling on my lip, with very small bumps at very close examination. Is it possible that all these symptoms are in fact indicative of herpes, but the blood tests just aren't picking up the antibodies? I'm sorry for the length of this, I am just very worried and don't want to spread anything to anyone. 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
44 months ago
Good morning,
I think herpes in your situation is extremely unlikely.  Good for using a condom for this experience.  I'm not at all clear that taking Valtrex afterwards is helpful but probably can't hurt.  Symptoms, should you become infected, would have normally appeared within 2-10 days after the exposure 
Is the tattoo on your penis?  You don't mention the location in your post, I don't believe.  The mild steroid cream you are using would like have made herpes worse, not better.  And when you describe possible herpes symptoms all over your body - elbow, around the eye, penis, leg, wrist, hand - that's just no how herpes behaves.  It would most likely show up around the penis if you had contracted it but small bumps don't sound herpetic to me - are they blisters that open into ulcers that then change into scabs?
Nothing that you have described here worries me for herpes - so far.

Terri
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44 months ago
Good morning, thank you for your reply and your reassurance! Yes, I am glad I used a condom. I was worried that by taking the Valtrex as soon after as I did that maybe it could have delayed the initial outbreak and thus extended the 2-10 day window, but I'm not sure if that's possible. The tattoo is on my arm, I'm sorry I forgot to mention the location! The cream doesn't seem to have made any of the bumps worse, so that's good! It has made some better, and done nothing to some of the others. The bumps on my penis and around my eyes aren't exactly blisters or ulcers, I'm not quite sure how to describe them. They are kind of like small raised areas with a drop in the middle, almost like little donuts, with some redness around them. They are sometimes itchy, but they don't burn or hurt. They haven't turned into any kind of scab or even leaked anything, but that may be because every time I see them I put cream on them pretty quickly. But as I said before, the cream hasn't made them worse, they just get better for a while then come back. The other areas I am concerned about on my hands, wrist, elbow, and leg, are itchy scabs that I don't remember ever being blisters. I am pretty sure that they just started out as red areas of broken skin, possibly ulcers, but no blistering. And they don't hurt or burn, they are just itchy. I put the triamcinolone on those, too, and it had very little (if any) affect on them. But they aren't going away, and have been around for at least 1 week, maybe 2. 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
44 months ago
There is no reason to believe that if herpes was around that it would infect your arm so I think you can take the tattoo issues off your plate. 
The itchy bumps are slightly worrisome - could they possibly be scabies?  If you think that is a possibility, you should have a dermatologist check them out.  They just don't sound herpetic to me.  There are so many things working against that.

Terri
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44 months ago
Okay, thank you! It actually is a possibility that it is scabies, because there is a possibility that I was recently exposed to that. I have already started treatment for that just in case! But do you think it is okay to put the herpes thing to rest, then? Do you think I need to disclose anything to any future sexual partners, or is that not necessary? 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
44 months ago
Yes, I do think you can put the herpes situation to rest, given all of your circumstances.  I do not think you need to disclose anything to future partners.
Hope the scabies treatment helps!

Terri
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