I had unprotected sex outside my regular relationship 6 weeks ago. A relatively low risk partner, but still, unprotected. I got tested at the clinic for chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV and syphilis - all negative.
I am, however, very worried about herpes. The nurse at the clinic said I did not have this, as it was very painful, but I understand that most infected people do not experience very noticeable symptoms.
Over the past month I have had up to 5 episodes of red dots appearing simultaneously under my foreskin (2-5 at a time) before fading in to nothing over a couple of days. Another set will appear a few days later. They are not associated with any pain or itching (any sensation is so mild and short lived as to probably be imaginary). They have definitely not turned in to blisters and ulcers - I have never been able to detect any broken skin - even after a bit of prodding.
I read that red spots called Erythemateous Papules can be symptoms of herpes instead of blisters, and now I am very worried.
Currently I am without symptoms, the last set of dots having disappeared at the weekend. Obviously I do not want to give my regular partner anything, and am being careful at the moment.
Do you recommend testing? And if so, is there any way I can get an indication ruling out herpes before 12 weeks post exposure?
Thank you for your post.
I have to say that from the description of your symptoms, it does not sound like herpes. I know that the appearance can vary, but they would always be sore and painful. What you describe sounds more like balanitis, possibly caused by thrush.
A test that you could have to exclude or confirm herpes is to get a PCR swab of the lesions when you have them.
More information about herpes on this link.
I feel I really need to KNOW whether I am negative for herpes because of the implications for my relationship. There is no other encounter that could have put me at risk earlier in my life.
Would there be any use in having the blood test at 8 weeks, just to give me some insight (I appreciate it is less reliable then) and follow it up with a second test after 12 weeks? Waiting another 6 weeks feels impossible right now as I just feel it is too coincidental that these symptoms started 10 days after my encounter and I have read so much about herpes being so mild in most cases that people don't notice it.