[Question #404] Herpes - Genital or Oral?

34 months ago

Hi.  I am a male just over 50 and was in a 20 year monogamous relationship with my wife until 10 months ago.   I had my new  55 year old girlfriend perform oral sex on me for less than 1 min exactly 30 days ago.  14 days later I attempted unprotected sex with the same woman for less than 30 seconds with basically little or no penetration and then stopped. 

 

2 days after attempting unprotected sex I began having a burning sensation on the inside of my penis head both when i was not urinating and when I was.  I had no other symptoms.  The burning has continued (for 16 days).

 

8 days after attempting unprotected sex I went to my physician and he swabbed the inside of my penis and said that the test would look for all of the STDs he wanted to check.  I don't know which kind of test this was - culture or NAA.  His office called and said the test were negative - but did not say what he actually tested for (I will find out soon).  

 

Two days later (10 days after unprotected sex and 24 days after oral sex) I ordered a full std test panel online and went to Labcorp for the test.   HIV (PNR) and HIV 4th gen were negative as were all STDs EXCEPT I was HSV 1 positive at 5.59 (Elisa Antibody Test).

 

I have read that 50-70% of the US population has HSV 1 (greater % as we get older).  Also that it can take 2 to 12 weeks (and sometime longer) from contracting HSV1 to the time antibodies are present but don’t know if this is correct or if the HSV antibody test will show positive while you are having initial HSV symptoms or do the antibodies only show after the symptoms subside.  Last,  Dr. Handsfield said in a post that it is very rare (3-5% of the time) for HSV to cause burning inside of the penis without other visible signs.

 

What I would like to know is it possible (or likely) that I contracted HSV 1 from my sexual encounters or did I already have HSV 1 as I would like to know if it might be genital or oral?   Thanks.

 

  

Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
34 months ago
Since your test was positive at >5, 10 days after the encounter, I would make the assumption that you were positive for HSV 1 well before this encounter.  The soonest I have seen anyone seroconvert (go from negative to positive ) is 10 days, and their result was 1.15.  The antibody test is looking for antibody which you make, it is not something you get from someone else.  It takes a while to produce antibody after infection.  This is a different test than a swab test that would detect actual virus in a lesion, for example.

Terri
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34 months ago
Since you have seen someone seroconvert in 10 days then is it possible that I contracted HSV 1 from the oral sex I received  24 days prior to the test? But what are the odds of this?  And is the burning in my penis a good indication of contracting HSV 1 at this time?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
34 months ago
It's possible, I suppose, but that's a pretty high index value for recent acquisition, in my experience anyway.  I am assuming you've never had a cold sore on your lip or in your nose?  I totally agree with Dr. Handsfield that only about 3-4% of urethritis symptoms are due to herpes in the urethra, and most of the time, I would expect with first infection with herpes, to see sores as well as pain in the urethra.

Terri
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