Genital Herpes: Useful info for those looking for answers like me!

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Ever since I suspected genital herpes (GH) and was recently confirmed to be going through a primary outbreak of HSV-2 (ugh, the "bad" one), I have been researching the topic like crazy! Guess that's a pretty normal thing to do, lol, and I'm sure many others here have done the same.

Anyway, I thought it would be helpful to share everything that I have learnt thus far, and I will continue to add to this thread as I come across more useful, interesting and/or relevant info.

Genital HSV symptoms http://patient.info/forums/discuss/comment?discussionid=482438&commentid=1776485

Testing for HSV http://patient.info/forums/discuss/comment?discussionid=482438&commentid=1776488

Does having one HSV type protect you against the other? http://patient.info/forums/discuss/comment?discussionid=482438&commentid=1776489

Autoinnoculation (self-contagion to other areas) http://patient.info/forums/discuss/comment?discussionid=482438&commentid=1776492

When is genital HSV most contagious? http://patient.info/forums/discuss/comment?discussionid=482438&commentid=1776494

Genital HSV transmission risk http://patient.info/forums/discuss/comment?discussionid=482438&commentid=1776497

Antiviral meds for genital HSV http://patient.info/forums/discuss/comment?discussionid=482438&commentid=1776501

Natural treatments for genital HSV http://patient.info/forums/discuss/comment?discussionid=482438&commentid=1776503

Genital HSV and increased risk of HIV http://patient.info/forums/discuss/comment?discussionid=482438&commentid=1776505

Transmission risk via inanimate objects, swimming and blood http://patient.info/forums/discuss/comment?discussionid=482438&commentid=1778698

Genital herpes and menstruation http://patient.info/forums/discuss/comment?discussionid=482438&commentid=1778703

Genital herpes and BV and yeast infections http://patient.info/forums/discuss/comment?discussionid=482438&commentid=1778708

Is there a vaccine for HSV-1/2? http://patient.info/forums/discuss/comment?discussionid=482438&commentid=1778714

Possible complications of genital herpes http://patient.info/forums/discuss/comment?discussionid=482438&commentid=1782789

Emis Moderator comment: there are also links to Patient articles on GH linked in the right sidebar of this page.

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  • Posted

    Genital HSV symptoms

    Everyone knows what the "classic" symptoms are supposed to look and feel like. The problem with genital HSV, however, is that the symptoms often do not look or feel like textbook cases!

    Lesions can range from the classic blitster cluster, scattered blisters (not clustered) to a single blister, which ulcerate and scab over (if on normal skin, like the penis or buttocks).

    Lesions may also bypass the blister phase entirely and produce instant ulcers (especially inside a woman's labia where the skin is moist), resemble a regular pimple or ingrown hair, or appear as a small fissure/tear. They can also be pinhead-sized.

    As a result, if you have anything suspicious and are concerned or freaking out - especially if accompanied by flu-like symptoms, swollen/tender lymph nodes in the groin area and/or burning urination within 2-20 days of possible exposure (incubation period) - the best thing to do is to get yourself tested.

    /

    NSFW photos of a typical female infection -

    • Posted

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    • Posted

      Most individuals experience symptoms within the first week of exposure. Symptoms may be mild to severe and usually lessen over 1-2 weeks, with full recovery by 3-4 weeks.

      Where lesions are present in a primary outbreak, these tend to be bilateral (both sides of the body's centre line) and at the site of inoculation (e.g., cervix, vaginal opening, labia, perineum, anus, penis head/shaft, or penile base if contracted while wearing a condom).

      I have read that genital HSV-1 may produce a more severe primary outbreak than genital HSV-2, but is known to recur far less (0-1 times per year vs 5-6 times per year on average). Subsequent outbreaks for both types tend to be milder and resolve more quickly, and become less frequent over time.

      Prodrome warning signs (which precede an outbreak by a few hours to 1-2 days) - like itching, burning, tingling and/or shooting nerve pain - do not always occur, but when they do, it is usually in the case of recurrent outbreaks.

      Recurrent lesions, should they develop, tend to be near or within the original site and unilateral (on one side; the side can switch with each outbreak), but can also appear anywhere in the boxer short area.

      An outbreak is considered to be over when all symptoms and lesions have resolved and the skin fully healed.

    • Posted

      Do HSV1 & 2 infections look the same on the genitals or are there visible distinctions?
    • Posted

      They look and behave (during an outbreak) exactly the same way, although it seems HSV-1 produces somewhat more severe firstout breaks. The big differences between the two relate to recurrence frequency, shedding, infectiousness and associated risks (plus stigma, imo).
    • Posted

      Hi! So I've been getting sores that look almost like chancer sores but they don't get crusty and they don't look like typical herpes pictures? Or at least the ones I've seen. I need help! I don't know what it is
    • Posted

      Studies have shown that in the event of an initial outbreak, one of the factors that determine if one will get recurrent outbreaks is how long it takes for the initial outbreak to heal.  This is because if the virus is allowed to infect more neurons, it will seed those neurons with more virions that can become active again. 
    • Posted

      Yes, length of the first outbreak is one of the very few things linked to frequency of recurrences (>35 days, 2x frequency), but the study only concerned Type 2 and no suggested explanation is provided in the free summary article, if I recall correctly. Many first outbreaks of Type 1 are quite severe and lengthy, yet Type 1 rarely recurs, so it's necessary to point out that this study and finding only applies to Type 2, plus taking the meds during the first outbreak was found to have no bearing on frequency.
    • Posted

      So what is the second outbreak like? What if you get the itching and tingle but no blisters and it's been a few days?

      I had my first outbreak and it was horrible. I'm not sure if I'm having a second outbreak. I got the itch and tingle but still a few days later no blisters ulcers or lesions. I do have red spots on my corona but it's bilateral. And then I have smaller red bumps all over my head which I had once before (apparently from vigorous masturbation). I had some redness but it went away for the most part. My main issue is Just now an occasional itch and and rarely a burning at my urethra tip. I was thinking maybe balintis , yeast infection, or contact dermatitis. I recently used ky jelly for masturbation. Never used it before.

    • Posted

      It really varies, but for many people who had an obvious first outbreak, subsequent outbreaks can be very mild, almost deceptively so. Maybe just some itching and/or tingling followed by a barely noticeable sore that heals within a couple to a handful of days at most. Which type do you have? The tingling could be evidence of something going on, but not necessarily, which is one of the frustrating things about herpes (not always easy to distinguish symptoms from normal sensations, etc.).
    • Posted

      I got tested and came back positive for HSV1 at 14 and equivocal for HSV 2. I had barely any outbreaks in my mouth just one decent sized sore in my mouth and some receding gums and irritation. I had a huge breakout on my genitals. It's started with and intense itch while peeing and then I had a blister or two on my penis. Then I started to get a fever that wouldn't go away. I started taking herpes meds when I had the first two blisters before I even got my blood work back. I'm too scared to go back and see if I test positive for hsv 2. My current symptoms right now are just some redness, no blisters or anything. Itchy some watery clear discharge or maybe it's some pee dribble? I have these red bumps I had one time after masturbating.

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    • Posted

      Did you not get your genital outbreak swab tested at the time? That would have been the simplest and best way to determine which type you have there.

      If you tested 14 for Type 1 at the time of your genital outbreak, then that is definitely not a new infection (older than 3 months, potentially years old). That much I can say.

    • Posted

      No I did not have that done. They didn't have it at the time. When I tested with my symptoms everything came negative igg. I went a few weeks later and those are the results I previously mentioned.
    • Posted

      Ah, then the genital outbreak is Type 1. The equivocal for Type 2 is likely due to the positive for Type 1 (happens with some people; some even score a false low positive).
    • Posted

      I kinda figured but I'm just anxious and afraid. I don't even want to go retest in a few weeks. It was very difficult handling the news about having hsv 1 so I'm afraid of finding out I'm positive for hsv 2. It scares me a lot but my family has been very supportive and I've used the positives opportunities I have for my future as motivation to get through this. If I have one advice for people who are recently diagnosed would be to educate yourself. Knowledge is power and educating myself has also helped me.
    • Posted

      It is most unlikely you have Type 2. Pre-existing Type 2 would make you immune to Type 1, yet you acquired a new Type 1 infection. So, unless you acquired both types at or around the same time and seroconverted in one case but not the other (all rather unlikely), I doubt you have Type 2. Just bear in mind that your new Type 1 infection could throw off the IgG results for Type 2 if tested by HerpeSelect, so don't panic if you retest and that happens.
    • Posted

      P.S. And I totally agree. Knowledge is power! Hence why I have made it my business to read and absorb as much as possible. :D Sometimes, however, having too much knowledge can also make you rather paranoid. It's a fine line that I'm wary of.
    • Posted

      How common is it for herpes to not be in clusters ? And that new ones appear with time or does it all come at once. & what if the sore burn so bad but never pop or scan in a weeks worth of time ?

    • Posted

      Does it always puss over and spread? I have two sores on the outside of my inner labia but they have not progressed or spread. They're actually shrinking without doing much else.

    • Posted

      Did they break open or ulcerate? That is normally what happens. Pus varies (can be not obvious, visible or oozy) and spreading is not necessary.
    • Posted

      No, there wasn't even a pimple first. It just started burning when I peed.  I did notice the day before that my vagina was extremely dry and I did masturbate that same day. Not sure if I tore it or something.  But there was no pimple before or any other symptoms.  It just burned when I peed. I looked and saw to sores.  They have not crusted over or spread or anything.  I thought maybe it was yeast because I also started spotting.  I put the yeast infection cream and the sores are much smaller and less painful.  It's weird.  I looked at so many pictures of herpes and they do look like the ulcers but not the extremity of the pictures on any accord.  

    • Posted

      There is a link to photos of a typical first outbreak further up in this thread. That is more representative than the extreme stuff. Check it out. Either way, I would get swabbed asap if I were you, since you have sores that look similar coupled with burning urination.
    • Posted

      Anyway I can relive the pain while urination it burns so bad!!! I can barley go it just hurts to much even to wipe hurts
    • Posted

      Pour water down below while peeing and after to rinse, then gently pat dry, don't wipe. That helps a lot! Also, drink lots of water to keep your urine weak (strong, acidic pee burns). You can even add a teaspoon of baking soda to your drinking water to help make your urine more alkaline. Doesn't taste so nice and only optional. Drinking lots of water is usually adequate. Hope that helps!

    • Posted

      Exactly how likely is it to pass on the Herpes virus to someone if you are not having a break out?
    • Posted

      Depends on the HSV type, how long you've had it, how long you've been with your discordant partner, and whether you're on daily suppressive therapy, etc.

    • Posted

      Thank you for all your knowledge! I wanted to see if my case is normal at all, the sores of the inner labia are kind of sticking together, and when I try to pull it apart it hurts. Do you think that this will be a problem for healing/should I try to seperate them? Or should I just leave it alone? It doesn't affect my urination but I was worried this would be abnormal

    • Posted

      Personally, I would not pull them apart, except maybe gently in the shower or bath after the water has loosened things up naturally. It shouldn't be necessary to keep them separated, but if it is bothering you, you can try applying zinc oxide to help dry out and heal the lesions, which may also prevent them from sticking together.

    • Posted

      Hello I just found out that I have hsv2 after being with a new partner. I started feeling real itchy in the vaginal area so I went to the doc twice thinking it was a yeast infection second time to the doc no signs of yeast and was then told to take pro biotic! Third time I felt a bump inside my vagina back to the doc I went she swabbed the lesion as the call it and sent for blood test! The swab came back showing positive for hsv2 blood test came back negative doc said my body may not have produced antibodies yet which means I was most likely just infected! She will test again in 6 weeks! I was prescribed valtrex 1mg twice a day for 10 days however I may have started it to late hence it took me an additional 2 days to pick it because I was depressed! My question to you is it likely to get painful red blisters/bumps on your legs that swell underneath that sometimes produce fluid? Or is it possible that I'm spreading it all over my body? It's annoying it itches and hurts if I bump my leg on something! Or could I have developed some other infection with herpes although I was tested for everything sexually herpes the only thing that came back positive! I also thought maybe it was an allergic reaction to the meds but they are still appearing though I'm finished taking the medicine! Any suggestions?

    • Posted

      That is rather unusual. Where exactly on your legs are these bumps? Are they actually blisters, more like pimples, or bumps under the skin? You do indeed appear to have been newly infected, and first outbreaks do not normally appear beyond the general site of infection. I also don't see how you could have spread it, unless you have been scratching your lesions then scratching your legs immediately afterwards without washing your hands. I would tend to think they are unrelated. If not, it is unusual like I said. If you want to be sure, ask your doctor to swab your leg bumps and let me know how that turns out!

    • Posted

      Sorry about that I was saying this is so weird! It's hard getting in to my doc due to my work schedule but I'm most definitely getting these things swabbed! It's like 11 of them mostly on the lower part of my legs some near the knees and two on the top of my leg! Ugh it's driving me crazy but thanks I will keep you posted!

    • Posted

      I will be very surprised if they test positive for herpes! Viral culture tests lose accuracy over time, so try to have them swabbed asap. Pcr swab test is less time-sensitive, but your clinic may not offer this. Just fyi.
    • Posted

      Hi! I am so so confused! I recently got diagnosed with type 2 and type 1 herpes. However, I've never had any symptoms at all what so ever and my scores (I believe that is what it's called) for type 1 it was a 1.51 and type 2 was a 2.11 or a 2.37. Now for the type 2 I'm certain it was a IgM, because my doctor was saying it was recent exposure. This all happened because my partner decided to be unfaithful on a trip with his friends... as well as i got chlamydia. We had broken up, couple months later and this was before I was even aware of myself having any of that (all i knew at the time was he had been unfaithful and said it was "protected"wink I had sex with another man. The condom failed, and so I decided to go get checked and when I did that's when I found out everything. I confronted my ex, and told my recent partner to get checked. About a week or 2 later he did, and was negative for everything. How? Especially with chlamydia and the condom failing. Also with my herpes, is it likely it's a false positive? I'm sorry if this is such a long response but I am so so lost.

    • Posted

      Hello... I'm searching for answers just trying to really get some understanding about my test results, as I can't find any similar to mine at all.. I have been tested positive for hsv2, it reads( hsv 2 igg, type specific >23.00 ) why is that number so high??

    • Posted

      Probably because it is a recent infection. Was the test kit HerpeSelect? The test kit can also make a difference.
    • Posted

      I had protected sex with a women I might and after sex she told me she had herpes. I was in total shock, I do not know what to do now. She said she was on antiviral and suppresses pills. She did not have a outbreak out the moment. Do I have a high chance of getting the virus. She gave me unprotected oral sex but she says she has Genital herpes. I’m I infected? 
    • Posted

      From what you say, no, you don't have a high risk of getting it, and I also replied to your other post.

    • Posted

      Hi Lonnie,

      How are you doing now? My first outbreak was one sore on the outside of my inner labia too. 

    • Posted

      I found a bump last night that was similar a pimple and it did not hurt and I popped it and now today it looks like a blister. My urine does not burn and i’m not hurting. What could it possibly be? There is only one on my outer lip. 
    • Posted

      hi,

      I am currently experiencing the same thing you have written. I've only had sex with two people (men). First time was 2008 and I was in a relationship for about two years. We only used birth control. Then I was single for almost three years and met my husband. We have been together for nine years soon. We also have birth control but rarely used a condom. would have NEVER expected to have this. Both my ex and husband have had several partners before me. I felt a small bump on my virgina, went to the doctor cause it hurt when I peed. tested positive for type 2, I was devastated. initially when the doctor saw it she said 90% sure IT IS NOT HERPES. guess she was wrong. I have never had problems with something like this. a few days went by without me knowing and I felt the sore healing naturally and when I FOUND out I GOT antibiotics for herpes for five days, part of me wanted to heal naturally in hopes of it not being herpes but I am taking them still. Tomorrow is my last day. IT DOESNT hurt anymore at all, but I AM paranoid ofc. I ONLY got that one small bump that is a sore now. I AM HOping that it was all a nighmare and I NEVER have to deal with this again. THEY SAY the first infection is the worse but mine was so mild, just one small sore. SO i am HOPING this goes away forever and that there was something wrong with the test. ALSO no one wants to test my husband cause he has NO symptoms at all and never had. we had to pay ourselves for him to do a blood test but IVE heard porely about the blod test. anyone has been wrongfully diagnosed? ALSO I REALIZED that there ia pretty much no way to find out if someone has thos virus cause it is not considered to be one of those std's, which is crazy! only way is a blood test id you dont have symptoms. NOT EVEN a condom can save you. and its terrible we should all have the right to KNOW if we carry this. especially us women who are more likely to get infected and can experience difficulties while giving birth.

      we are waiting for my husbands results. if he tests negative for type 2 something is really wrong cause I HAVE NEVER been with anyone else sinCE I Meet him. anyone else who also just got a small sore the first time? and did it come back? thanks for sharing your stories! appreciate all the stories!

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