[Question #2755] Am I at significant risk for herpes?
41 months ago
This is a follow-up question to a question I had 4 days earlier, where Terri was so kind in answering. I'll summarize below and add new information.
I had sex with a sex worker four days ago and was protected with a condom for both oral and vaginal sex, scrotum licked. Couldn't tell if she had a visible outbreak. I reached out to her and she claims that she's herpes free and tests every three months.
The day after, I started feeling a tingling on my pubic area for about 4 days, it went away on day 5.
Day 4, I had a sudden fever accompanied by a sore throat (don't think it's related) as well as soreness along my hips and a dry cough. These 'flu-like symptoms' made me worry, since they might precede a primary outbreak. The flu went away in roughly a day and a half and I felt perfectly normal for a day, enough for me to dismiss my prior symptoms as pyschosomatic.
Today, I began to have a slight jabbing discomfort along my upper buttocks and lower back. I tried to ignore it and the symptoms subsided, but about an hour later, a uncomfortable warmth, almost like a sunburn, started creeping up from my tailbone to my lower back, accompanied by a similar sensation in my pubic area. Another hour later, my middle back felt the same and began to ache painfully, taking an hour to go away. Sciatic nerve?
There have been no primary indicators of herpes, but the secondary indicators align with known symptoms and are unusual for me. I am a resident and have self-medicated with antibiotics (in case the symptoms are bacterial in origin) in the absence of anything else I can do and am stressing myself out.
Dr. Handsfield would likely call this potential ''genitally focused anxiety'. I'm sure a conclusive test would sort that out, but I'm not sure if I can function normally for three months. Most importantly, I do not want to spread this if I am at significant risk for having contracted it. Do you think I've exceeded that threshold?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
41 months ago
I really don't think the situation that you describe here puts you at any real risk of acquiring herpes. Generally, the flu symptoms that we are talking about with herpes are more things like muscle aches, headache, sensitivity to light, perhaps fever, general achiness, perhaps difficulty initiating a stream of urine or bowel movement. If your scrotum skin was intact, because it is rather thick, transmission through licking is really unlikely. I would agree that you have some genital anxiety here, but also some other symptoms that you just need to hear are not likely herpetic in nature.