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are herpes symptoms 18 days after exposure possible for an initial infection?

I read that symptoms happen in initial infections 2-12 days after exposure; can herpes lie dormant for years and then just show up? Symptoms appeared 18 days after exposure as bumps on the penis, which developed into blistered and then scabbed over within the same day. The next day (day 19) 2 more blisters formed and ulcerated (they have not scabbed yet).
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207091 tn?1337709493
It's possible, but not usual.

What was your exposure? Are you talking about oral sex, intercourse, something else? If you tell me your risk, I'll be better able to help answer how likely this is to be herpes.

Since you have blisters that haven't scabbed yet, get to a doctor and ask for them to do a PCR swab on them. It's more sensitive than a regular culture and can be done even on a scab.

Let us know what happens.
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Oh I have no symptoms at all; it was a recent partner who has the symptoms. We had protected anal sex and unprotected oral sex, and the location where the bumps are were most definitely covered by the condom. So we were thinking possible hsv 1, but he also has a history of cold sores. So the issue is a) is this herpes and b) if it is, how likely is it that I'm the source of the infection or could this just be recurrence of an old infection that was missed initially?
Okay, since he has an existing hsv1 infection, you can rule out genital hsv1. It would be very, very unlikely for him to get that again genitally as he has antibodies to protect him.

So your questions -

a) I don't know. Only testing will answer that. Your partner needs to get tested, and since the sores haven't scabbed over, now would be an excellent time to do that. Any urgent care can do that.

b) Either is possible, and again, the only way to know is to test. You should ask your doctor for a type specific IgG blood test to find out if you have either type. Your partner should ask for the same test. If your partner is positive now for hsv2, it could be a new infection, or an established one - some people develop antibodies within a few weeks. The longer he waits, the longer it will be to determine if it's a new infection if he's positive. The only way to know for sure it's not from you is if you test negative. If you both test positive, it could be an established infection for both of you.

It is more likely that someone would get sores at the point of infection, but herpes infects nerve groups, so you can get sores anywhere in the boxer shorts area.

An important note - it is quite possible to get a false positive on the hsv2 IgG. Anything under a 3.5 needs to be confirmed. Just be prepared for this. We see it a lot here. The official test guidelines say anything over a 1.10 is positive, but the CDC and all experts in the field feel, and several studies have shown, that results under a 3.5 could be a false positive and need to be confirmed.

Don't let anyone do an IgM test - it's unreliable and shouldn't be done on adults.

If you don't have health insurance, you can get a test at STDCheck.com.

I'm not in a good psychological place right now to deal with the possibility of a false positive; I've never had any symptoms of this, we used protection, so I just don't understand how it could have come from me. He got a swab done and a blood test already (I don't know if it was IGG or IGM). Is it fair to say that if the blood test is negative but the swab test is positive, it's a new infection? He was also apparently with another partner at the end of May / beginning of June, is it possible to have had a silent primary infection from that and then a symptomatic recurrence in the last couple days?
"Is it fair to say that if the blood test is negative but the swab test is positive, it's a new infection?" - Yes, if he got an IgG. Unfortunately, there's a lot of wiggle room in "new". Some people develop antibodies quickly - I did within a few weeks. 70% will by 6 weeks, and the rest will by 12 weeks.

Even if he's negative now on the blood test but has a positive swab, it could still be from his partner at the end of May.

He also has hsv1, which means that his first hsv2 outbreak will be a little different than someone who doesn't. Having hsv1 antibodies may help keep his hsv2 milder than someone who doesn't. There are also plenty of stories of people who've had herpes for years with no symptoms, or recognizable symptoms, who suddenly get an outbreak and find out they have it.

Condoms don't offer total protection against herpes. Herpes is spread by direct skin to skin contact, and condoms don't cover all the skin.

Unfortunately, the only way to know is to test. I understand not being in a good place to test. This forum is full of people who've gotten false positives, and it takes months sometimes, not to mention a lot of money, to unravel that.

All I can say now is that if it is herpes, and you have it, it probably isn't nearly as bad as your thinking it is. Most people find that it's just an annoyance. It can change dating and your sex life a bit, but again, probably not as much as you think.

If you aren't in a good psychological place, please consider therapy. I won't pretend to know everything you're going through, but counseling can help.

If you haven't already, you should read the Herpes Handbook. It's written by Terri Warren, one of the world's leading experts on herpes. It's free, too.  https://westoverheights.com/herpes/the-updated-herpes-handbook/
Thank you so much for your help. I know Herpes isn't a big deal, if I do in fact have it, I'm asymptomatic so as far as minor annoyances go, it isn't even that. The stigma is so much worse than the virus.
The stigma is ridiculous and doesn't have any basis in truth to actually living with it, I swear.
You're right. Seeing as how the virus is a big cup of nothing, the blood tests are unreliable and don't tell you where the infection is even when they do pick it up (and it's not a false positive), I think I'm just going to get on with my life and be vigilant for strange lesions or sores and get them swabbed if something pops up since the PCR tests actually seem definitive. I'm perfectly content telling future partners that I probably have the virus and that getting a blood test just isn't worth the bother or expense.
Why do you think you probably have it? Has it been confirmed that your partner does?

There are any number of things that can cause sores, and herpes is only one of them.

Right now, I'd say it's a big maybe for all of you, unless it's been confirmed for you partner, and if that's the case, it's 60/40 for you and his previous partner at the end of May.

His swab came back positive for hsv 2 the next day, and the other blood tests that were done came back negative for the other STIs. I asked my doctor about it and the doctor said it could be from me, but statistically it's more likely that it's a previously silent infection having a recurrence. I'm not sure a herpes blood test ended up being done on him, apparently that doctor told my parter that the blood tests were unreliable; do herpes antibody tests take a super long time to come back? I kind of assumed it would be as fast if not faster than the swab tests.
The IgG blood tests aren't super unreliable, but they do have false positives. The IgM tests, which are designed to look for new infections, are terribly unreliable.

Depending on the lab, it shouldn't take more than a week or so for the results to come back, but I don't know if labs are all backed up with covid tests if you're in a high covid area.

The doctor is kind of right - statistically, anything is possible right now. Unless some blood tests are done, no one will know.

I know you aren't in a good place for a false positive, and that's okay. I'm not trying to push you into that. I also don't want you to assume you have it, either. We simply don't know. But how you choose to handle it is your call, and you do it however it works best for you. :)

I appreciate that, thank you. I've just read other threads on here and I figured it was my responsibility to assume I'm positive given the situation if I refuse to get a blood test to prove otherwise.
Eh, that's fair, to a point. It's fair for sexual situations, but you should be assuming everyone has something unless proven otherwise by testing.

There's another thread going on here by monkeydoctor, and it's a great example of false positives. If you're up for it, give it a read. It's just something to prepare you in case you decide to go for testing. Obviously, we aren't hearing from the people who are getting clear negatives, which does happen.

Another thought is that you skip the IgG testing and go right for the Western Blot, which is the confirmatory test. You can do that with Terri Warren, on her site - https://westoverheights.com/getting-a-herpes-western-blot/ It's expensive and you'll have to self-pay. I'd recommend waiting until 12 weeks has passed from your encounter with the guy who has it, in case his previous partner gave it him, and now you're exposed.

But only when and if you're ready. Do it how it's best for you.
So update: I ended up getting a blood test (against my will, they lied and said they weren't doing that after I asked them not to, but what's done is done). They did an IGG test and an IGM test. The IGG results are as follows:

HSV 1: 1.3 (Positive)
HSV 2: Negative

The IGM is pending. Is it fair to assume I don't have type 2? And what do I do if the IGM comes back positive? Also I know that low false positives are really common with type 2 in the IGG test realm, but what about with type 1? I don't really care much about that one (honestly I prefer to have it since it's asymptotic if I do), but I'm curious.
First, ignore the IgM. It's a totally worthless test for herpes, and should only be done on newborns. It's wrong as often as it is right, at least, and the CDC and every expert in the field says the IgM shouldn't be run. No matter what it says, ignore it, and act like it wasn't done.



You can assume you didn't give your partner hsv2, as you didn't have it to give him, unless it was a brand new infection. I thought you had mentioned when your most recent partner before him was, but I can't find that, just his. In any case, you can assume that if you hadn't had a partner within the 12 weeks prior to the test, you don't have herpes. The partner who does have hsv2, though, means he had hsv2 before you. This test won't reflect that.

Chances of you getting hsv2 from a one-time protected encounter are very low - around 1 in 10,000. You haven't had symptoms, so I'd say your chances are very low. Also, 70% will develop antibodies by 6 weeks, so if it was after 6 weeks, that increases your chances of not having been infected by him.

The hsv1 IgGs don't have the low positive issues, but yours is low enough that if you wanted, you could confirm that. If it were higher, I'd tell you not to bother, but that's really low. The only reason I'd suggest it is to know if you need to concern yourself with getting ghsv1 from oral sex. If you have hsv1, you can't get it again. I don't think it's something you need to run out and test again for.

I'm kind of glad they tested you, knowing it's negative. It gives you a peace of mind you need.

Eh I mean... It seems like it's better to get HSV 1 genitally than orally if one is going to get it, so I think I'm good on the type 1 front (whether I have it right now or not).

Thank you so much for your advice!
You're welcome. We're here if you ever need us. :)
Final Update: Well the IGM came back negative (.66 value); I know you said to ignore the result, but I was wondering if this makes it more or less likely that the HSV 1 result was a false positive?
The IgM looks for new infections. It reflects an antibody that is present for only a few weeks - maybe up to 5 weeks. It doesn't have anything to do with the IgG, which looks for a different antibody.

The only thing that it may correlate with is if it the IgM were positive, your hsv1 being that low of a positive might indicate a new infection. If that's the case, another test in a few weeks would see a rise in the number.

This is highly unlikely because even though your partner has hsv1 already, he didn't have an outbreak at the time you were with him, making transmission far less likely. I'd guess this is either a false positive for you or an old infection that you didn't know you had.
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