STIs - I'm going crazy - no definitive answer, what should I do?

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Hi!

About 3-4 weeks ago I had this quite mild infection on my penis - red tip, burning sensation when peeing and after 2 or 3 days a few small blisters appeared (4 single blisters to be exact) on the head. All in different areas, mostly on the inside of foreskin, at the base of the head when I pull the foreskin down.

I went to my GP and she said it could be chlamydia or gonorrhoea! There was some discharge from the tip, too, not very much I thought, but the GP noticed it. She took my urine smaple and told me to sign up to my local GUM clinic because I'd never gone there before and I needed full STI tests, etc.

I got an appointment a few days later (about 10 days after the infection started) and the blisters and pain while urinating went away on the very day of my GUM clinic appointment!!! the dr said that chlamydia/gonorrhoea would not go away by itself so she thinks it's genital herpes. I thought I was gonna die. She took swabs from were my blisters were/had been, my mouth, and always from inside of my penis. Immediate results came back negative... They also took my blood and urine samples.

afterwards, on the same day, I rang my GP and asked about any results from my urine sample. They said the hospital had lost it and that I would have to come again and do it!!! I said no thanks, the GUM clinic have already got it...

So it will be 2 weeks tomorrow since my visit at the GUM clinic and I rang them today. They said there's backlog and it might take another week...

In the meantime I'm going absolutely crazy!!! every itch, every tingle, literally everything that a normal person would simply disregard I get a panick attack over, thinking I'm gonna die of an STI in a moment. Nobody told me for definite what it is, herpes test came back negative... I also met a lovely guy (im a guy too) and I'm afraid he might not like the fact that "I may or may not be infected" or what the hell is wrong with me if anything? I don't wanna infect him but my dr said I wouldn't if I don't have any blisters/symptoms.

I searched the web thirty million times looked at herpes/chlamydia/gonorrhoea, nothing really fits exactly. Herpes seems to be entire areas or multiple spots (like it's 20 spots in some pictures) whereas I had 4... and they weren't painful (just burning when I poured water over them). chlamydia/gonorrhoea it seem to fit my case but they aren't meant to disappear? or maybe it didn't disappear it's just gotten much better and I think I'm healthy now but i'm not? 

Honestly I don't know what to think, I keep thinking that I don't have herpes, because the tests came back negative and it's a long-term disease without a cure so I think I would kill myself if i was properly diagnosed with it.

I dont know what to do about the lovely guy either... I can't tell him that "I MIGHT BE INFECTED" that'd just be weird. I don't wanna scare him away.

Every night I go to sleep i check my downstairs and look at it intensely and sometimes see a red area, or maybe this is what my penis has looked like all my life? I dont know anymore. I find myself crying every day or two, and it's been like that for nearly a month. When I don't cry, I barely stop myself from bursting into tears multiple times a day. It's only 1pm now and I have already cried once and "nearly cried" additional two times.

I really hope someone can answer this post with some advice on the whole thing. Waiting another week for the GUM clinic results is literally going to kill me!

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18 Replies

  • Posted

    Certainly blisters that sting/burn is a symptom of herpes but if you were seen at the GUM clinic and they have ruled it out then at some stage you do have to believe them don't you? 

    You do not say - I think - your country or age but in UK it is most common in 20 - 24 year olds.  To give some idea of the "problem" there were 32000 cases diagnosed last year out of a total population of perhaps 60 million.

    Surely - unless there is doubt from the GUM clinic - you simply tell the new b/f "I'm tested and the clinic says I'm OK" then such safe sex as you see fit.

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    • Posted

      Thank you so much for a reply..

      I'm 19y/o in the UK. The GUM clinic didn't exactly rule it out - the DR said that's what she though but then results came back negative.

      Will it not be awfully unfair of me if I go by the (possibly negative) results and don't tell him anything..? Feels a bit unfair to me, I don't know. Although I might sound ridiculous if I say that I'm medically negative but I'm still scared.

      Also - if it does come back negative... what could it have been if not herpes (or an STI)? maybe the results were wrong...

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  • Posted

    Testing with symptoms: Viral culture

    If symptoms of herpes appear, they can vary widely from person to person. If a person does experience signs of infection, we recommend obtaining a culture test (a swab from the symptom) within the first 48 hours after a lesion appears. Results are usually available in about a week’s time.

    The major advantage of the culture is its accuracy in giving a positive result. A culture can also be “typed” to determine whether the infection is caused by HSV-1 or HSV-2. If you test positive by viral culture, you can be sure you have the virus.

    The major disadvantage of the culture is its high rate of false negatives. Because a culture works by requiring virus that is active, if a lesion is very small, or is already beginning to heal, there may not be enough virus present for an accurate culture. Beyond 48 hours of the symptoms appearing, there is a risk of receiving a false negative test result. Viral culture is even less accurate during recurrences (positive in only about 30% of recurrent outbreaks).

    Healthcare providers can also take a swab of an area that has symptoms and run DNA tests. These newer tests are fast, accurate, and can tell if a person has HSV-1 or HSV-2. There is less chance of a false negative result with an HSV DNA test.

    Do you know if it was a culture or a DNA test?

    Honestly hun, it sounds like herpes. You can compare everything to online, as it will be different for everyone, because it all depend on how your immune system handles it. Sounds like yours handled it very well. There isn't anything else w those symptoms. Keep in mind. If it is a new infection, blood tests will come back negative, as did mine. My blood test didn't come back positive until 3 months later. Swabbing is not good for all reasons stated above, unless you have a lesion.

    It's not going to kill you and it's not the end of the world. Life does and will go on.

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    • Posted

      thanks so much! this answers pretty much everything I've been worrying about for the past two weeks. It doesn't change the fact that I'm now horribly depressed and all that but at least I know. If current results come back negative I will test myself again in a few months just to be sure.

      as to the swab tests, i don't know whether they were culture or dna. the results were ready in about 15 minutes but i dont know whether culture & DNA tests take the same amount of time or not.

      all in all my worst fears have pretty much now come true, i have no idea what the guy will say. i feel terrible.

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    • Posted

      I know it can be a hard pill to swollow ans feel like your life is over, but it's not. You'd be shocked at how many people have it and have no idea they do, because they are asymptomatic or have symptoms so mild, they mistake it for a heat rash, thrush, jock itch, pimples, ingrown hairs, etc. People also assume that when they go for STD testing and request a full STD panel to test everything, herpes is not included in that panel. If you don't specifically request w the word herpes, they will not test you for it. So people walk around, virtually symptom free thinking they have a clean bill of health and actually are spreading it around.

      85% or more of people have no idea they are HSV 2 positive. Based on your English, I'm guessing you arw in the UK. In the US, the number of people w genital herpes is about 16-25% of people; however, that is only counting those positive w HSV 2 genitally and not w HSV 1 genitally. If those numbers were included in the gwnital herpes report, you are looking at an even larger percentage of people w genital herpes.

      I know 7 people personally who have herpes. All of them lead a happy life and are married w children, except for two of them. I only know one male w it.

      What I can tell you as far as transmission risk female to male (I don't have anything for male to male) is much harder to transmit, than male to female. So because it is harder for a male to contract it, is the reason I will give you these numvers, which should be even lower for male to male, because of less mucous membrane skin exposed.

      Keep in mind, each scenario is also refraining from sexual activity of any kind, during signs of symptoms (learn your body)

      - 4% no protection

      - 2% condoms or daily suppressive therapy w medications

      - 1% using both condoms and medications

      So, being male to male for reasons I stated above, arw likely to have much lower numbers.

      Keep in mind that there are times people are contagious during asymptomatic shedding. Learn your signs and symptoms. I recorded mine for awhile to learn my triggers and different sensations

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    • Posted

      I'm sorry for too many replies, you can't delete them, and i hadn't seen this post before I posted the other ones!!

      the numbers (however vague, I know no research numbers are adamant) are really comforting... I have learnt my lesson the hard way, I'm only 19 so hopefully from now on, protected sex with regular partners (if I can find any due to my new additional oddity...) will prevent any other disasters.

      also - as to signs. Internet says that itching around your genitals can be an early symptom, followed by blisters the next day or two. I don't know whether i'm paranoid, or not, but despite the first outbreak's sympoms disappearing, i have this tiny itching sensation every now and then... but it's been many days now if not a full week and no blisters, no pain while passing urine (the pain while peeing was the first sympom i noticed at the start of my first outbreak)... so i don't know anymore!

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    • Posted

      No, no such thing as too many replies w questions. Knowledge is power and ignorance is choice. You're choosing not to be ignorant. Its probably because the biggest post and first one I did was moderated, as I've been known to have typos for the word test, that turned into another word I don't even use. Lol

      So yes, the numbers are comforting, this is why I say it is noy the end of the world.

      So what you are describing in regards to itching, is called prodromal symptoms. This means any sensations you may feel on the following areas are: thighs, scrotum, area between scrotum and anus, buttock, anus, penis shaft and head, inner thighs and back of thighs and pelvic region and in some cases, lower back, are to be taken as a sign that the virus is active/present/shedding. Usually these are signs that an ob is going to occur, but not always. Sometimes you just may get itching or other sensations, which I will describe what to look for later in this post. When you experience these, you are to refrain from any sexual activity.. That means skin to skin contact, no oenetration is needed for transmission, just simply uninfected skin touching infected skin is enough to transmit.

      You may very well never have visible symptoms again. Most people don't. The people you read about or pictures you see, are typically, the few 10% who have symptoms and most often, worst case scenarios. This is why herpes symptoms can be overlooked. People read what it says online and compares pics. And thinks their is nothing like that, but that's exactly it, they usually aren't.

      I think itching is expected after some time after initial ob. I was itchy for awhile.

      The following are some of the sensations you may get, w no physical appearance symptoms to follow it or be present w it, but can still mean you are contagious. You must now pay close attention to your body and any type of triggers such as foods, stress, lack of sleep or alcohol consumption, that may trigger an ob or these symptoms. The following sensations can be felt in the described locations avove, are as follows: feeling of an insect crawling on your skin, itching, tingling, tenderness, redness, sensation of a mild sunburn, swelling, burning (even at times ever so lightly when you urinate). More severe sensations you can get, but are not as common, could be an aching in the buttock bones, as if you rode a bike for the first time in years. This is actually nerve inflammation by the sacral ganglia and sign of active or shedding virus. Burning pain at the same site, back of thighs, knees and even shooting pain can occur(mainly on primary ob) yo feet, down kegs, inside rectum, location site of present or previos sores or just in general in the groin region. Swollen and tender lymph nodes in your groin can be a sign as well. Pins and needle sensations in the genital region or tailbone can be indicative of activation as well. I had burning at my tailbone, top of crack this weekend and I knew I was having an ob inside, due to my cycle. Most people will not have any of this or never correlate it w herpes.

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    • Posted

      the itching has now been present for a few days as i said, how do i get rid of it? do i just wait? i've started paying attention to my vitamins intake/healthy foods etc. but not sure how it helps (if at all).
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    • Posted

      So herw are the refines that I follow and I used to have to take meds daily and was still having obs.

      - during obs or symptoms, take at least one bath daily w Epsom salt. This makes a huge difference for me, when present w symptoms on the skin and the only thing that would reduce my itching. The first ob, itching only ceased while in bath, but you can forget about it after. You can apply a numbing agent such as clove oil (dilute w water on open skin. Very potent and can sting at first), but hydrocortisone cream ia your best shot, to beat itching. Ask for lidocain gel if possible. Daily meds for a period may assist as well.

      - high doses and quality of vitamin C, Bs and calcium are a must. Adequate doses or high quality vitamin that has vitamin A and E, w iodine is another one to boost immune response.

      - late nights into the wee hrs drinking highly sugary drinks have been triggers for me. Stress obviously, so this is not good for people like myself, who are naturally high strung.

      - some people say they are triggered by coffee, buts and chocolate.. I've not tested this theory by cleaning up my diet yet, even though ever day I say tomorrow is the day... I've been lying to myself every day since getting it. ;-)

      - I've not seen lysine help me. What I saw make the biggest change in me, was the use of a probiotic. Find one w lice cultures.

      - at night if the itch is driving you insane, use a cold pack w paper towels around it, to ice the area. This has helped w the itch some, but I have to say... The itch from a primary ob can only be alleviated so much. I feel like you are forced to just ride it out. It won't be such a bother after a couple months and remedies will nip it. Propolis is supposed to assist w the itch, due to strong antivirals properties and doesn't have the potent smell of tea tree oikd, which I found no help in and actually burned myself w it.

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  • Posted

    One thing that you do not - I think -say is that when this started do you have any reason to think that this is an STI.  Basically you get STIs from someone else who has one.  If you were indulging in unsafe sex with someone then perhaps you may have an STI but it does not just occur spontaneously! 

    If you know who you might have got this from can you contact them to check their status?  In my youth we had "contact tracers" for VD as it then was

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    • Posted

      Unfortunately Simon, condoms isn't always enough when it comes to herpes or HPC. They promise a 30% protection rate w an infected person. There's people on this forum who have always used protection and still got it, especially from oral sex, seems to be more common in the UK than the states.
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    • Posted

      So here's the good news: HSV 1 on average tends to be more quiet for people w maybe a couple more recurrences to none again or once every few yrs or more. This also means less asymptomatic shedding and it is harder to transmit HSV 1 from genital to genital. Hsv 1 tends not to like being put of its hone base (oral). It tends to be less aggressive and easier to manage than HSV 2. Keep in mind that having HSV 1 genitally, will not protect you from getting HSV 2 genitally, but have found that HSV 2 genitally, provides immunity to HSV 1 genitally.

      So you will still need to be careful. I promise this ia not the end of the world and you will go about your life like everyone else I know that does.

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    • Posted

      I didn't actually know that you can have HSV 1 on your genitals! I thought it was the same virus just in different places (i.e. herpes on your genitals is automatically HSV 2 and in your mouth it's HSV 1).

      So it's possible that the partner had a cold sore and had active oral sex with me and so i got HSV 1 on my genitals?

      Will blood tests (whether the ones i'm waiting for now, or ones i will do in the near future, if the current ones come back negative) tell me which one it is i have?

      Thank you so much for your responses they've been extremely helpful.

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    • Posted

      also - you say condoms only provide 30% protection from herpes. is that during an outbreak? I read on the internet that without outbreaks, while the virus is inactive, the chance to pass it on is a few percent, and with a condom even less?
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    • Posted

      Yep. They are very similar in DNA but only by 50%. HSV 2 is even more unlikely to spread orally, because it really does have the preference for the sacral ganglia as its home base and not the trigeminal ganglia, which is by your ear and ia the preference of HSV 1 (oral herpes).

      Your partner doesn't even have to have an active cold sore to be contagious. He could be shedding the virus, which prosuces no signs that an outbreak is coming on or he didn't pay attention to the signs he was. Some people have active virus and produce no signs or symptoms. It is not completely understood, why some produce sores and others don't.

      The blood tests if they put you in for both will tell you which one you have, if given enough time after infection to produce antibodies. However, if you've ever had a cold sore, then you could come up positive for HSV 1 anyway and it won't tell you the location of the infection. This is why when one suspects they got an infection from oral sex, that a swab test is better, but again, you have a small window of time to get swabbed for accurate results.

      No problem. Always here for support if you need it. :-)

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    • Posted

      I provided in one of my earlier posts the percentages of transmission, but think it is under review for some reason w the moderator . the statistic of 30% protection from condoms, is not in the same category of transmission risk rates 30% protection from condoms I believe is, only 30% of the surface area that could have active or shedding virus is covered by the condom and 70% of the surface area left exposed that herpes virus can infect, could have active/shedding virus on the surface of that area.

      So now the numbers of transmission rate come in to play after this and starts including other factors to reach a statistical risk factor. No signs of symptoms of an ob, using protection and/or using antivirals, which reuduces numbers of recurrences and viral shedding. Make sense?

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