[Question #2695] Increased HSV risk with razor cuts?

41 months ago
Hi Terry,

I'm sorry, I just have a really quick question in regards to an incident with my boyfriend the other night. I have browsed the forum and could not find anything pertaining to my situation. 

My boyfriend performed oral sex on me Monday night for ten minutes or so while also fingering me before we had intercourse. He did NOT and still does not have a cold sore. Afterwards when I used the bathroom I noticed how red and raised my pubic area was. About 5 hours prior to that I had shaved with a new razor and, up until this point after sex, I had forgotten all about it. My area was red and raised both from the shaving and oral, and had razor burn/ bumps in my pubic area, and around my bikini line up top and towards the bottom part of my vaginal lips near my butt. I also had a few nicks/cuts as there were pin-sized dried blood spots I noticed as well. The next morning most of the irritation was gone-no redness or inflammation just a few left over shaving bumps.  

Now I know that it is highly unlikely for my to get HSV 1 on my genitals after my well-established oral HSV 1 infection; however, I also know it's not absolute or 100%, as there are certain experiences that can allow this to happen and I am wondering if this is qualifies as one of those experiences. 

My question is, does the fact that I had nicks/cuts/razor burn and bumps from shaving increase my chances of getting HSV1 on my genitals if my boyfriend was shedding virus at the time of the oral sex? 

I have not been worried about our sexual activity given we share the same virus, but in this case I worry that my genital environment was more susceptible to subsequent infection because of shaving trauma. I have read on medhelp that nurses have seen cases of subsequent infection from razor cuts allowing an entry for virus and it has caused me much worry. I feel I can move on from this knowing your expert opinion on this matter. Thank you so much. 

Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
41 months ago
While theoretically, having nicks and cuts in the genital area increases the chances that some organism could enter your body, I still think the chances that you will acquire HSV 1 genitally is very very small.  At some point, I think you will need to find a balance between worrying about this very unlikely event and enjoy the fullness of the sexual expression between you and your partner.  In 33 years, I have seen someone with an established history of cold sores acquire genital HSV 1 once, and have seen it posted on my website twice.    So that's three times in 33 years that I know about. That's incredibly low.  And if it did  happen, it would rarely recur as HSV 1 rarely recurs genitally.  So even in the first case scenario, I think it would not be a big deal.

Terri
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41 months ago
Thank you, Terri. You are right. I love my partner so much and my worry is absolutely keeping me from truly being expressive in our sex life. I appreciate your insight and knowledge. 

As a follow up, I am still taking valtrex for suppression until I can better manage my anxiety and no longer use it as a precautionary crutch. That being said IF I were to develop HSV of either type genitally, can I still expect to have a noticable primary OB even while taking the medication? I'm not sure if the valtrex would prevent an initial outbreak and I would want to be aware of any genital abnormalities if infection does happen to occur, but I am just not ready to stop the medication. 

Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
41 months ago
So IF you acquired HSV 1 genitally, I think the outbreak would be minimal, both because of your prior immune response that would work hard to keep things under control and also with the Valtrex working in your favor, you might never notice a new infection.  And there is no reason you really need to stop your Valtrex - why were you thinking you should stop it?  If it helps you prevent outbreaks AND gives you reassurance, I don't think you need to pressure yourself to stop.

Terri
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41 months ago
I guess I was wanting to stop it because in the past, I only ever used valtrex when I had a cold sore and now I feel as though my anxiety has crippled me into using it unnecessarily every day. I supposed if I were to stop it, I may be able to realize that I don't actually need to take it to feel safe in engaging in sexual activity. 

Thanks for the information about recognizing OB's. I have only ever been aware of razor bumps in that area after shaving and irritation with tighter clothing- all things that never gave me much worry until I developed this genital anxiety. Recently I have been noticing some pimples on my butt cheeks (usually the same cheek) that tend to appear/disappear within a day or two from when I usually notice them.  Currently, I have had what appears to be a pimple directly on the crease where my left butt cheek meets the back of my thigh. It has been there since Sunday and doesn't hurt or itch. It's one flat pustule that has gotten smaller, but had not disappeared entirely. No blister or pus, just a yellowish center I notice when I take a photo and zoom in close. Does this sound concerning? 

Thank you for your diligence and patience and for your input. Once again, you have made me more relaxed. 
41 months ago
Usually if s pimple shows up on the cheek it's gone the next day, but I'm thinking this one is lasting longer because it's right at that crease so it's constantly being irritated by walking and underwear. Perhaps this is a plausible explanation? I have asked a family member (not a doctor) to look and they said it looks like a regular pimple and they get similar things down there, too. 
41 months ago
Gosh, so sorry to post again. I know my limit is way up. I just keep forgetting to mention something and hitting submit prematurely. I should note there is nothing in the genital region like on the inside or anywhere else (except regular razor bumps) Just this one place on the cheek 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
41 months ago
People can get herpes outbreaks on the buttocks, but when they do, they are significant blisters that come in a group in the buttocks, slowly breaking the skin and causing scabs and often some scarring and last 2-3 weeks. What you describe sounds nothing like that to me.

Terri
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