[Question #45] Worried about possible herpes infection from a long ago single encounter

41 months ago

Dear Doctor,

I am a 32 year old white female, and have been in a monogamous relationship with my fiance for three years.   Besides a diagnosis of HPV four years ago, which cleared and has since been negative, I have had no vaginal issues or any health problems except an occasional yeast infection until recently.  I get pap smears and standard blood work done yearly, but never had an STD blood test (except HIV/AIDS which was negative) due to my low sexual activity before I met my fiance. My fiancĂ© had a full STD blood-work panel right before he met me, and was negative for everything.  We have sex (usually unprotected) about 4-6 single times a month.

During this past December-April, I experienced a series of mild-moderate episodes of vaginal burning, itching, rashy irritations, and grayish discharge.  I checked my vulva with a mirror almost every day worrying about a possible STI, but saw no sores, blisters, or scabs.  My gynecologist did a wet mount smear/ph /microbiology test, and diagnosed me with vaginitis/vulvovaginitis nonspecific. The Doctor and I attributed the main cause of the condition to wearing tight latex pantyhose 8 hours per day, and exercising in heavily layered clothing throughout the winter. My doctor said nothing about the possibility of having an STI.  The only thing I forgot to mention to him was that I once saw a single pimple on my vulva; I did not mention that because I have always been prone to body acne. He prescribed a nystatin cream and probiotics. I stopped wearing pantyhose and never saw the infection again. 

Six weeks ago I had unprotected intercourse with my finance during a heavy menstrual period.  The next day, I developed a UTI which cleared on its own in 2 weeks.  I  have now been clear for the past six weeks.   

Based on information I have read on the web about the condition I experienced, I am suddenly concerned about the possibility that I may have gotten herpes from a single unprotected vaginal sex encounter that took place 5 years ago.  That partner’s STD status was unknown to me. I am particularly concerned because I had recently gotten over a yeast infection at that time, and read that that may have increased my chances of getting herpes.  Also, I had another boyfriend 8 years ago who tested negative for everything except the type of oral herpes that causes mouth sores.  I had vaginal intercourse with him about 10 times (twice unprotected) and he never performed oral sex on me.  Other than those that I mentioned, I have had no other sexual partners. 

Please tell me what the odds are that I could have contracted herpes from those brief encounters from years past.  Is it worth it for me to get a blood test?  I am extremely stressed and have become a hypochondriac from all that I have been reading about herpes on the web.