[Question #3656] Herpes/cunnilingus

35 months ago
Hi! I have been reading this forum for the last week or so and really appreciate the work that you folks are doing, especially to put to rest a lot of worries that people have.

I was with a woman about 8 days ago, and we had protected vaginal sex, protected oral sex (blowjob), but unprotected cunnilingus. From reading the forum, it seems like the risk from that is pretty low, and I didn't see any sores or anything like that. However, I happened to notice a sore on the inside of my lip that I think is a canker sore. It's a circular gray dot with a red border around it, maybe the size of a pin head, and it looks kind of like canker sores I have gotten before from either biting the inside of my lip or sometimes from eating citrus. It's not painful, and though I can feel it with my tongue now that I know where it is, I wouldn't have noticed it if I hadn't gone looking.

But since I have been worried that somehow I got herpes from this last sexual encounter, I thought I would write and ask you if you thought this sounded like a symptom of herpes. I am going to get tested in a few weeks anyway, just for peace of mind, but I thought I would check in with you first. Thank you so much for your help and expertise!
35 months ago
I went to the doctor today and he took a swab but said he thought it looked like a canker sore and not herpes. I took a blood test too, though I know it won't show anything from this latest partner, but I saw in one of the posts something like that it might be good to take like a baseline test. 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
35 months ago
This definitely sounds like a canker sore and not a herpes lesion.  I'm glad your doc was able to confirm that opinion.
Your encounter presents quite a limited risk of acquiring HSV 2 - HSV 2 doesn't like the mouth for some reason so oral infection with HSV 2 is uncommon.  If you have a positive antibody test for  HSV 2 now, it is likely  due to a previous infection, not this encounter.  Let's leave this open until you get your test results back and you can run the results by me, would that work for you?

Terri
---
35 months ago
Thank you so much for your response, Terri! So the blood test results have come back and they're positive for hsv1, which I'm assuming I've had for at least a little while due to the timing of the test. 

I've not had cold sores that I can remember, though I feel like I may have had them as a child. I tried to confirm with my mother but she doesn't really remember either. I guess I'm just wondering now if there's any kind of idea about how contagious I might be. Like does asymptomatic shedding happen pretty often? Does it lessen over time? Is it as contagious as the times when cold sores are present, that kind of thing? I've been trying to read up, but some sites seem to say different things and I trust your opinion more. Anyway, thank you so much! 
35 months ago
Oh, and just to clarify, the culture from the sore hasn't come back yet, though the doctor (and I) are pretty convinced that it's just a regular canker sore, though I always still worry a little :) 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
35 months ago
It would be great if you were slightly more clear in your memory of if you have had a cold sore or not.  At this point, we cannot know if your infection is oral or genital for sure.  If you are infected orally and it happened as a child, yes,most people have less virus activity, both obvious and asymptomatic, as they age.  With oral herpes, a person who has obvious recurrent cold sores (which is not you) shed virus orally about 25% of days measured.  Again, this is not you.  If you get a sore in your nose or on your lip or anywhere genitally, be sure to have it swab tested right away to try to confirm the location of your infection.

Terri
---