[Question #4009] Herpes possible infection

33 months ago
Good morning,

I will try to be brief. 3 years ago, an escort performed oral sex on me. After that episode I've had anxiety and six months after that encounter I took Herpes blood test, both IgM and IgG for both HSV-1 and HSV-2 and all came back negative. However now when I am thinking back on it, I have a doubt that the escort put a used condom on me that she kept from a previous client. I have read that herpes when exposed to air and environment dies quickly however the inside of a used condom is usually a confined area which does not allow air inside since a used condom is crumpled. So I am thinking that maybe if the previous client had herpes the virus could have stayed active and alive inside the condom by the time I wore it myself. And for the Herpes blood test, I have also read that for HSV-1 in 20% of cases there are not enough detectable antibodies so the test is only 80% reliable. This is causing me to worry a lot about a possible Asymptomatic herpes infection, since I do not have Herpes symptoms, only itching and tingling caused by anxiety.

Please give me your opinion on my thoughts. Thank you in advance.

Best,
AA
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
33 months ago
I'm sorry you have worried about this for a long time.  It seems so very very unlikely to me that an escort would use a condom more than once!  They are cheap and very hard, I would think, to role up again so that they could be applied easily.  That just doesn't seem reasonable to me.  This is one of those things that while possible, seems incredibly unlikely!
Yes, the IgG test for HSV 1 misses 30% of infections compared to the gold standard western blot but even if your IGG test was positive for HSV 1, it would not tell you that you are genitally infected - you could have been orally infected since childhood. 
I am assuming that you have not had any genital lesions to swab test and that is very important.  People worry about tingling but the vast majority of the time when people only have tingling but no lesions, their gold standard western blot tests are negative.  My guess is that this encounter did NOT result in a herpes infection.

Terri
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33 months ago
Hello Terry,

Thank you for your answer. Still one point missing please, what about the possibility of the survival of the Herpes virus inside a used condom? I am thinking that since the inside of the condom is confined and does not allow much air, the Herpes could survive there. Am I correct or missing something? Thank you in advance for our answer.

Best,
AA
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
33 months ago
The herpes virus is very unlikely to survive on any inanimate surface for very long at all. This would include a condom, even if the person using it prior to you, which is a pretty disgusting thought, had herpes. 

Terri
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33 months ago
Thank you Terri.  Do you also have an estimate of how long the virus can survive? Is it few seconds or few hours? And also, I've read that the virus dies due to its exposition to the air, so being on inanimate surface is another factor that is responsible for the death of the virus? Could you please clarify this point for me? 

Thank you very much again for your time and answers.

Best,
AA
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
33 months ago
The question is not only how long does the virus survive, but also is it infectious?  While studies have shown that the virus can live off the human body for a while, the question of whether it can continue to be infectious is totally different and unanswered. 
Your concern is really a bit off the charts in terms of likelihood. I understand that you are worried but the likelihood of this happening are about one in 10 million. 

Terri
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