[Question #4894] HSV2 EXPOSURE

25 months ago
I am a 56 y/o heterosexual male whose issue dates back to 1-13-19 when had condom protected vaginal intercourse with a woman with HSV2 positive. I was unaware of her STD status and she got tested after the fact on 1-22-19, at which time she became aware of her HSV2 status. Today is day 13 post exposure and I'm fearful I may have contracted HSV2. Since I became aware of her status I've been religiously examining myself to see if any typical herpetic lesions have erupted in my genital area. I've also been quite into my body's sensations to see if any tingling is taking place. Can't sleep well. I have a tender left inguinal lymph node and have been also able to feel tender cervical adenopathy. Here are the questons: If I don't develop any lesions by day 14 am I in the clear? Why do I have tender adenopathy? I'm not at peace. Please help me.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
25 months ago
I think if you don't have symptoms by day 14 it is unlikely that you became infected, correct.  But about 80% of those infected with HSV 2 are unaware of their infection so it's not a certainty.
However, the likelihood of you contracting HSV 2 from a female while using a condom is incredibly small.  Many things could cause that lymph node to be tender and you cervical nodes would have nothing to do with this at all. 
I am assuming that you have been tested previously and know that you are negative and thus your worry that you might have new infection?
The other thing is to be certain that when this partner was tested, that her index value, the result number, was greater than 3.5 to eliminate the possibility of a false positive.

Terri
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25 months ago
Thank you. Last June I tested negative all except for HSV1 and she’s my first partner in a long time so yes, worry about a new infection.  I’m going crazy. On one hand if you don’t develop symptoms by a certain date that’s no assurance as one doesn’t have to manifest symptoms. Then you read condoms don’t offer much protection.  Her titer was way > than 3.5.  Guess if I don’t develop symptoms then I have to test myself? When is the earliest I can test myself?  I’m not doing well. I’m 56, don’t sleep around, recently lost my mom, I don’t need to contract HSV2 at this stage of my life.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
25 months ago
You clearly need to test to reassure yourself about your herpes status.  The problem is that you cannot get accurate testing until at least 6 weeks out (70% certainty) or 12 weeks out (most certainty).  But given all of this, a single intercourse using a condom presents such a tiny risk!  I know you are worried and I'm not sure how to reassure you more than this, but the chances of you becoming infected given all of that AND no symptoms are just statistically so very small.  Men have sex with infected women for years without condoms and don't become infected!

Terri
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25 months ago
Thank you for your reassurance. To be quite exact I used 2 condoms that night, so did I double my risk? Guess will allow this virus to keep me hostage until II get tested in 4 more weeks. The people who do test positive and don’t recall having symptoms, is it they developed symptoms but did not attribute it to HSV? Or where they totally asymptomatic? I just find it hard to believe that no symptoms can take place when herpes causes genital ulcer disease? 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
25 months ago
No, you didn't double your risk at all. 
Some people who test positive but report no symptoms are missing subtle symptoms, symptoms are in areas not really genital like anus or buttocks or thigh or belly or pubic hair so they aren't thinking "genital herpes", other confuse their herpes symptoms with something else like yeast or a UTI and still others have no symptoms.  So it is a mix for sure.

Terri
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