[Question #3220] Hsv1 exposure

39 months ago

Hello, around December 1st I had protected sex unprotected oral from a partner. I noticed I had leg tingles/twitches/nerve pain mostly in my right leg sometimes in my left. I found out she gets cold sores but hasn’t gotten one in a long time. December 20th nurse ordered an igm test over telephone which came back negative. December 31st I noticed a pimple like bump that I was picking at it was hard to pop finally that same night I got it to slightly pop and it looked like there was clear liquid coming out of it. A day or two later I picked at it again and this time it bled. This bump went away after about a week after first appearing. January 9th i got an igg blood test done which came back negative <0.90 for hsv1 and 2. January 11th I noticed another similar bump appear with what appeared to be clear fluid coming out. The next day I went to an ER to try and get a swab done within the first 48 hours because I could not get an appt and the doctor refused to swab and claimed that this was not herpes even after informing her of my exposure she still refused and said it wasn’t herpes because it was not in clusters, painful nor itchy and I showed her pictures of the first bump which she said looked like a sebaceous cyst. I am going to wait another 6 weeks and get another blood test (Igg) done at 12 weeks. Meanwhile the nerve pain in my right leg hasn’t really stopped as I occasionally still feel nerve like shocks in my right leg and twitches. 



  1. With all of this info do you think I have contracted ghsv1?
  2. Does ghsv1 normally behave this way? 
  3. Could the bumps have just been folliculitis and ingrown hair or small cyst like the ER doctor suggested?


Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
39 months ago
It sound nothing at all like HSV 1 to me.  If the bump was herpes, it would have broken open immediately without you picking at it - they make water blisters that are very easy to break.  Also, the amount of time from exposure to bump is one month and with herpes, it would be about 2-10 days for symptoms to appear.  The doctor said it didn't look like herpes so that's good.  And it's good that an IgG 5 weeks out is negative.  Yes, you can repeat at 12 weeks if you are still worried.  I would try to ignore the leg pain - it can definitely be a red herring in terms of herpes.  I think a far more likely explanation is folliculitis.

Terri
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39 months ago

Thanks Terri! I am trying to stay positive about everything I just have never experienced these symptoms before until after exposure. Is it likely that herpes outbreaks would ever have one bump and then another appear 11 days after? The second bump popped much easier but was gone much quicker by like day three which is why I believe the Er doctor wouldn’t swab it. Also, If my IGG test after 12 weeks comes back negative would it be safe to say I am indeed negative or should I try and pursue further testing. I am somehow still terrified even though I read multiple posts by both you and Dr. Handsfield about how unlikely and rare it is to pass along ghsv1. 

Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
39 months ago
Herpes could show up and then come back in 11 days but lots of things could! 
If your IgG test comes back negative at 12weeks, I think with a high degree of certainty, you don't have HSV 1.  The IgG test does miss a fair amount of HSV 1 infections but even if you did the western blot, the gold standard test, it wouldn't tell if your infection was oral or genital and if you contracted it at this encounter or if these bumps are herpes or not.

Terri
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39 months ago
I believe that if it does come back positive it would be Genital because of the bumps I’ve had and no oral sores noticed and also that it was from this experience because I was tested previously back before this encounter in November and results were negative.  I also noticed that the skin underneath my head of my penis was dry and flaking slightly and on my scrotum it appears to be dry as well is this a symptom? And also how would I go about obtaining the western blot if I decide to pursue that? 
Thank you for your help. 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
39 months ago
Dryness and flaking are not symptoms of herpes, no. 
The previous testing that you had could have missed the infection, right?  As we talked about the IgG test misses 30% of infections, compared to the results in the same people, by western blot. 
You can work through your own provider to get the blot (from UW) or I can help you obtain that test - see westoverheights.com

Terri
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