Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Herpes confusion?


In the past three weeks, I've had sex once with a girl, let's call her (a) and then i got back together with my girlfriend, who we'll call (b).

I first had sex with my girlfriend a month ago. We got into an argument, took a break where I met (a). I had sex with (a) and the condom popped. I put on another condom and it popped again. I never ejaculated during sex with (a), however I did receive oral sex from her and she bled during sex.

I had a slight itching for a week, a week or so afterwards,  and then a bump that was NOT filled with puss or any type of liquid appeared on my pelvis. It appeared to be an ulcer, but I don't  The bump was slightly painful to the touch, maybe a 4.5/10 on the pain scale, but it has gone down and appears to be going away. The itching has also gone away.

I also have some odd pimples and bumps and random black marks on my upper back. My girlfriend says some of them are scratch marks from good sex, but I'm not too sure. These pimples/marks do not hurt, nor do they itch. They just look annoying.

Neither my girlfriend nor (a) have any itching or bumps on them, and I have had unprotected sex with both of them, my girlfriend multiple times.

My face is also breaking out, but I've always had untimely acne from touching my face too often. There are no bumps on my penis that don't have hair coming out of them.

I am going to get tested tomorrow just for clarity and sanity's sake, but seeing as though herpes is the most easily spread STD that I know of, how likely is it that I have it while the two females I've had unprotected sex with are showing no symptoms nor itchiness, yeast infections, bumps, ulcers or blisters?

Also, what are the odds that I contracted the virus via hair clippers? I used my roommates clippers to shave my groin area three weeks ago and a week ago, while the bump was still present. I soaked it in alcohol before and after.

Finally, if I am diagnosed with any form of HSV, will I be able to have unaffected children, a normal job and/or lead a happy life with this condition? What are treatments for HSV and is there a possible cure in the foreseeable future?

Hello Kristoph,
The symptoms you describe sound very much like folliculitis from a skin germ Staph aureus, but do NOT sound at all like herpes. Acne also causes folliculitis, but generally they are caused by different skin germs. Make sure the tests done are not blood or antibody tests, because they are very difficult to interpret, and most doctors are not familiar with the best test to use. If a lesion is present, than a DNA/PCR type test (also known as a NAAT) are very good.  But whatever test is ordered, it must be interpreted by the ordering provider. It may not be as easy as "positive means you're infected," or "negative means you're not infected."

Herpes is just a nuisance virus mainly affecting peripheral nerves with occasional outbreaks that affect the skin and sensory nerves there. Treatments include acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir.  No affects on having children, although they will probably get infected sometime between birth and adulthood, because most people are infected that way. No possible cure in the foreseeable future, and it is not likely to be a burning research question, as there isn't a lot of money in it for pharmaceutical companies who usually sponsor such research.

Good luck!

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Mark P. Behar


Almost any question or concern about gay men's health issues, sexually transmitted infections, abnormal Pap smears, anal cytology (anal "Pap smears"), etc. There is no such thing as “d/d free” or “clean” (free of infection), so why do so many of us deceive ourselves into thinking that some people are indeed totally free from a potentially infectious disease, like HIV, herpes, hepatitis, syphilis, chlamydia, warts, gonorrhea, etc., just because they say so? Clinical laboratory tests are not perfect, and having a “negative” or “nonreactive” test does not mean that a person is free from infection. Perhaps at the moment the test was taken, the person was uninfected; or, perhaps, the test wasn’t sensitive enough to detect presence of the infection. There is really no way that anyone can determine that they are truly “disease free,” and there are over a hundred of infectious conditions that can be spread without your knowing anything. Rather than trying to “pre-screen” or “serosort” a potential sex-mate with deceptive questions that are impossible to know by today’s technologies, a wiser option may be to consider everyone infected with something, and either use appropriate protective measures (“safer sex”), or accept the responsibility and consequences of possibly “catching” something from someone who’s hotter than expected (pun intended!). There is much research that supports the contention that an HIV positive person reliably taking HIV medications, and having an undetectable viral load, presents a lower risk for transmission of HIV than people who may think or say they are HIV negative, but are not. Food for thought!


Family Practice PA since 1981; Volunteer Clinician for Brady East STD (BESTD) Clinic, Milwaukee, since 1977; answered STD questions submitted to their web site. Professionally lectured at national and regional Physician Assistant and Nurse Practitioner conferences, and at national gay & lesbian health conferences on topics including HIV/AIDS, herpes, hepatitis, STDs, human papilloma virus (the cause of venereal warts), abnormal Pap smears, gay and lesbian health issues, among others.

Co-Founder, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Gay Physician Assistant Caucus of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Inc.; American Academy of Physician Assistants; Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants; National Co-Chair (2012-16), National Association of Black and White Men Together: A Gay, Multiracial Organization for All People (NABWMT)

Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (JAPA) Q Visions, Quarterly Newsletter of the NABWMT

Bachelor's of Arts, 1972 (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI) Graduate Credits Experimental Psychology, 1972-75 (Tulane University, New Orleans, LA) Physician Assistant, Bachelor's of Science, 1981 (George Washington University, Washington, DC); Masters in Physician Assistant Studies, 2000 (University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE)

Awards and Honors
Colposcopy Recognition Award (CRA), the American Association of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology; Distinguished Fellow, Clinical Preceptor, American Academy of Physician Assistants; Fellow, Wisconsin Academy of Physician Assistants

Past/Present Clients
Brady East STD Clinic, Milwaukee, WI Milwaukee Health Services, Inc. (Martin Luther King Heritage Health Center), Dept. of Family Medicine and Early Intervention Program for HIV Infected Persons

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