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I'm new to this and need some advice

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Hi everyone,


I am new to this, even though i'm not sure of my diagnosis yet, so here I am to write part of my story and how the diagnosis came to me. I really have no one I can talk to about this. Not a soul. Since I learnt about my possible herpes infection, i have been reading online non stop about herpes, because I really didn't know anything about it. Yesterday I spent most of the night reading your testimonies and stories and thoughts and jokes and it made me feel better. You seem to be a great and helpful community. I have read some of your messages and the way some of you are living through this and taking thinks really amazes me and inspirates me. So, well, I'd appreciate any advice, opinions or thoughts on my situation. Beforehand, sorry for this message which will probably be a bit long. Here is how it started:


About 3 months ago, I had unprotected sex with a guy from school. It was only this once, all my previous STD checkups had came back negative so I figured I wasn't endangering anyone (I'm saying this because I don't think this came from him). Little did I know doctors almost never include herpes when you ask for a full checkup. So well, a few weeks ago, I decided to go and do blood tests to see if everything was still ok. The results came back a week ago. Turns out this time my new doctor asked for herpes testing. That one came back positive.


Like most people, I didn't know much about herpes. I didn't freak out, I checked online very fast and called my doctor "about my results", his answer was that "everything was fine". When I asked about herpes being positive he said I had come in contact with the virus and now had immunity. I wouldn't transmit it to anyone unless I had an outbreak.


I spent that day super happy everything was ok; but well, after giving it more thought, I still didn't really trust him and had to check for myself. I started to read a lot of stuff online and found he really didn't know what he was talking about. I guess it's not really his fault, but still, you are supposed to trust your doctor, and some people wouldn't have looked further into this, and if I acted based on what he said, I could be passing herpes on without even suspecting.


There are a lot of unknowns with this infection, and i understand anyone can get it at any time without even suspecting. I had never had any symptoms anywhere, I thought, so I began doubting the results. All that the test results say is :

. Ac anti-Herpes IgG * Positive

. Ac anti-Herpes IgM * Negative


There are no numbers, no values, no nothing. I began to think that maybe this test was non type specific and maybe i just have HSV-1 antibodies like most people do. But then the next day I thought that if it was included in serology, they probably looked for HSV-2 antibodies only. This thing has really been giving me a headache and it's been on the back of my mind at all times. Of course, I need to make sure because I don't want to expose anyone to this.


So well, i guess i need to double check with another test. But after thinking and thinking and reading online and more thinking, I remembered that 3 years ago, i started to have red swollen spots on my hands anytime I was under stress. THey look like this and feel like a splinter:


These are images I came across while reading about herpetic whitlow. I have had them on my right hand, not sure if I have them on the left one too. They started appearing 3 years ago, after I had sex. Next time I had sex was 3 months ago with the guy from school, and i'm pretty sure I had these on my hands. It was during the exams and I was super stressed.


Of course, this freaked me, I started to convince myself that what I have on my hands and never worried too much about, might be herpes. Is it type 1? is it type 2? I'm guessing type 2 if the tests were only looking for this one. Maybe I'm jumping to conclusions too fast, I have no idea; but this is the only thing I could associate with herpes symptoms. Not contimate anyone when it's in your hand seems impossible. Unless you avoid all contact with anyone. WHat about shedding? The sores are never open. I'm really feeling lost and feel like no one is actually able to give an answer. I might have gotten it from a handjob or something. I never had anything down there. If it's in my hand, can I also have genital herpes? Can I have symptoms in one location and not the other? These are not real questions I guess because they would probably be hard or impossible to answer for sure.


So well, I'm not going to have sex and I am going to be super careful until I can go to planned parenthood to see a gynecologist and do another blood test. But in the meantime, could you give me some advice? Since i had unprotected sex (and used my hands of course) with this guy, that i don't know very much and haven't been seeing since, do you think i should say something to him? I have read a lot that "ignorance is bliss" when it comes to herpes, he is only 18 and I don't want to "ruin" his life. On the other hand, on the off chance that I do turn out to have herpes and that he might have gotten it even if there were no symptoms, I sure don't want to have that on my conscience. Besides, if everyone chose to be ignorant, of course this would be terrible when it comes to this infection and that's not the kind of person I want to be. Then I think "if he's clever he'll make blood tests" (but of course how can I not tell him first? he shouldn't find out with a blood test or an outbreak); "how can I tell him when i'm not even sure" (I even wonder if i'm in denial), my idea is that i should make sure before telling him; besides, i don't know him too well and i would be scared to tell him, what if he tells everyone? Then, o also realize this is a pretty selfish way of thinking and that more important things are at hand. Still, dealing with another person's life and what is the best thing to do is really hard. Even more when everything seems so uncertain. So well, i really don't know how to deal with this. What is the right thing to do? How? When?


I guess I'll have time to deal with all the other things that come with this diagnosis, I feel at times this is the end of my sex life (which has been pretty lame and empty until now). How can I have casual sex again? How can I have a casual relationship? I don't want to buy into the stigma and there still is much to figure out and i could go on writing but I realize this message is already pretty long and annoying so I'm going to stop here. For now my biggest concern is that I might have exposed someone to herpes, and what I should do with that. Thanks to anyone who might have read this until here, and thanks to anyone who would share their opinion and advice with me.

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At the moment, I'd agree with this bit: "I began to think that maybe this test was non type specific and maybe i just have HSV-1 antibodies like most people do." Im not really sure why your doctor ran this test at all; it hasnt shown anything unusual, yet causes panic.


This isnt worth stressing too much over, even if you get whitlow most cases are hsv1, and its absolutely possible to have it in one location and not the others.


Yes, get a type specific test if it will stop your mind overworking. But you may be left with the same assumptions I'm making. When was the last time you had the sores on your hand? Its difficult to pin whitlow down, the sores dont usually open and it looks similar to other conditions. Are they quite angry and painful?

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Thanks a lot for taking the time to read and answer. I really appreciate it.


I guess it's going to be hard to make sure of anything in my case, in the absence of any clear herpes related symptoms.


I actually have one sore in my hand right now, though it's disappearing. They're always red and slightly swollen but I wouldn't say they are painful. They are usually located on the joints of my fingers and the best i could describe the feeling is that it's like having a splinter.


I guess I'm going to go to the doctor, ask for other tests to be ran and if they are positive it still will be hard to know where I might have herpes. Most of all, I wonder where that puts me regarding disclosure with future partners.


Thanks again for your time.

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No worries - my thinking would be: I probably have hsv, which is nothing unusual.. majority of cases are oral.. I only have reason to suspect my hands.. therefore it's unlikely to be genital, so there's no need to disclose or worry. At least until there are any developments.


I have whitlow, and aside from the redness and swelling, the sores usually have white centres beneath a fair amount of skin, and come in sets of 2-5. Shame there's no strict rules though.

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