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6 Months of Uncertainty....PLEASE HELP!!!

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Here is my story and I really could use some input. I have been with my wife for nearly 8 years, (5 together + 3 married). I truly love her and feel that we have a very strong relationship. We also have a beautiful family and life together. We have never used protection since the beginning. We have both had unprotected sex with partners in the past, but she has regular paps and is healthy, never even complains of so much as a yeast infection. I have also been tested relatively frequently throughout the years and never shown any signs or symptoms of anything. I would never so much as dream of infidelity, and I know she wouldn't either.

We had sex back in late February, within approx 10-14 days I noticed 2 small bumps on shaft and 3 on the right side of my scrotum. The bumps were itchy and looked like pimples or ingrown hairs. I have dealt with ingrown hairs, acne, etc on my face and body since my teens so never thought much of it. I waited another week or two, and finally went to my clinic to see the doctor on call to get diagnosis. He looked thoroughly and diagnosed me with Folliculitis (bacteria in the hair follicles) and offered me oral antibiotics which I declined. Went on vacation and things got worse. To my recollection the original spots were still there, and more showed up on the left side of my scrotum this time, particularly after a long plane ride. I also noticed tenderness in the lymph nodes in my groin while on vacation. I kept my wife informed of all this as I didn't want to be intimate until things cleared up.

After vacation I went back to the clinic and saw another doctor who said indeed, folliculitis and prescribed me 1 week of oral Keflex as well as a topical antibiotic. No success. Some spots were slowly healing, but new ones keep continuing to occur mainly on my scrotum. I'm itchy and something is still going on. I went back to the clinic again, a third doctor saw me and was prescribed 2 weeks of the same antibiotic saying the course wasn't long enough and its definitely folliculitis. No change. Finally I go to ER for a swab. This doctor also concurs, (doc #4) folliculitis. Swab came back negative, but doctor gives me a different oral and topical antibiotic for a week, figures it's likely a different strain of bacteria. Things finally start to calm down but not completely. Doctor number 5 says "one more week and you should be good". Take one more week of this new antibiotic, and its pretty much gone - I feel like I've finally nabbed it. The last of a tiny lesion cleared on its own just in time for me to see my GP at end of July. I tell him the story, and he gives me what I'd call a full genital exam and says everything looks good, can be a tricky spot for bacteria but it's gone. Perfect.

**I told each and every doctor I have been in a monogamous relationship for 8 years - no one even mentioned the possibility of anything else.

For the first time since February I feel confident to have have sex with my wife (protected with a condom because she has recently come off birth control). Everything seems to be fine. A week or so later, a few small scattered bumps again. Now I'm freaking out. Something's not right. I started googling. Realize herpes can be commonly mistaken for folliculitis. Try to convince myself "5 MD's should know the difference though?". My sores don't fit the typical herpes diagnosis - they don't "cluster", they look like pimples not blisters, and don't seem to "ooze and crust". Also, I don't seem to have defined "outbreaks". This is like a never-ending outbreak where new lesions occur before the old ones even heal, and most take 3+ weeks to heal. Basically for the last 6 months (short of a couple weeks when I went to my GP) something is always active down there, but WHAT ELSE COULD THIS BE?!?!

More research and I find out Herpes is not regularly tested for on STD panels (I'm in Canada), and not even available through our healthcare system without a special lab request and large out of pocket fee. I explain to my wife that these "spots" are back again, and I have created a huge amount of stress and anxiety in myself due to my incessant googling, so last week I tell my wife what I'm dealing with and suggest to her "maybe its herpes." This obviously was a mistake, but I was bottling up all my fears and stress inside and needed to share it. She immediately gets freaked out and worries of infidelity. Says "you've seen 5 doctors who all gave you the same diagnosis - only a person with a guilty conscience would jump to such an outrageous conclusion". I explain to her (and deep down she knows it) that I have been nothing but faithful. Tell her research says that herpes can lie dormant in someone for years and either of us could potentially have it since it's not routinely tested for. I explain that I stumbled upon herpes as being something that could be mistaken for folliculitis - there are only so many things that can cause red spots on your genitals! That's what lead me to this possibility- not guilt. I didn't mean to freak her out, I was just looking for support. I tell her that "I need to get to the bottom of it because protecting her and keeping her safe is my main concern." Things emotionally have calmed down in the last 2 days, but last week was rough.

Anyways I went back to see my GP yesterday with these recently "active" sores. He said "these definitely don't look like herpes. If you were walking in to see me today, I would tell you the same thing - folliculitis." He took several swabs again to check for anything and everything he possibly could and also printed the requisition for the blood tests, should the swabs come back negative or inconclusive again and don't give me any answers. At this point, I just want to know what this is so I can get on with my life. However, I know if I'm herpes positive, my wife will be a wreck! Obviously the next step will be for her to get tested and since she's never shown anything, she will have to get the blood test. If she's negative, my main concerns are keeping her safe and protected, but also KEEPING her! We are young (early 30s) and just started our life together.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can prepare myself to have this conversation with her (all over again) if I get a positive diagnosis? She knows how much she means to me, but I just hope I'm worth the (2%) risk! I don't want to lose my family- I would honestly rather die! I'm not scared of herpes at this point. If its herpes, I'm not the first and won't be the last. It'll still be a shock, but I've mentally prepared myself in the last 3 weeks of research. Also it hasn't really bothered me physically other than the "itchy pimples" which hopefully will clear immediately with antivirals?? The fear and anxiety of having to tell my partner of 8 years has been far worse- what matters most to me are MY WIFE AND FAMILY!

So... does this sound like herpes? What are the odds that this was dormant in me and we'd been having unprotected sex for 8 years without her getting it? Or could she be the silent carrier (she wouldn't cheat) and could I have finally gotten it from her back in February? Also, does herpes transmission risk reduce over time? Will I have to take antivirals for my entire life to keep her safe? As the years go on would she be less and less likely to catch it from me? What about oral sex in our future? I want as much positive info as possible to soften the blow and explain to her we can have a normal, active sex life beyond this diagnosis. Please help and offer any advice you can!

Sorry for the long read!!! Thanks.

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Sounds like folliculities like the doctors have said. You seem hell bent on having herpes or something..  If  5 doctors said that and you haven’t had traditional herpes symptoms I would think folliculitis.  Your swabs are coming back soon and that will give you a definite answer.  So maybe relax and stop jinxing yourself for herpes.  Also marriage is  in sickness and health  to death do we part so If your wife took her vows seriously A skin condition shouldn’t crumble a marriage.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I went through the same this. each doctor told me the same thing they told you. each time I swab it came back negative!! did bloodwork twice and it came back positive for hsv1!!! I had the same symptoms as you but it was down stairs. only difference between us is that i am a female 

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I’m having the same problem, but no sores and no crusting.

constant itching around my groin with red bumps the pop up for maybe a day or two.

no prescription creams have worked, anti itch cream does not work, and now I have unexplained tingling in my upper lip that also brought upon a bunch of white bumps.

my primary care doctor and dermatologist think I’m crazy for suggesting herpes even though the igh results were negative 3 months in. My girlfriend also has the itching and lip tingle with bumps. Her appointment with primary care will be tomorrow.

Hopefully I will be getting the Western Blot soon.

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