Sexually Transmitted Diseases/Herpes. Paranoid


QUESTION: I've been reading about herpes online. I don't think I have them but I started to get paranoid when I read that you don't always have symptoms and people mistake it for razor bumps and yeast infections (I've had both). I really think I should just stop reading online cause it can be misleading. My question is even if you don't have visible symptoms, will you EVENTUALLY get cold sores or warts?

ANSWER: Hi Sierra,
Get your information from accurate web sites, such as from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Here is their link:
Herpes (cold sores, fever blisters) and caused by a different virus than warts, and look and act very differently than razor bumps or vaginal yeast infections.

If you don't have visible symptoms, will a person get active outbreaks of herpes?  Probably, if previously infected, but they may be so mild that you may not recognize them as such.  Can the virus be shed and spread to an uninfected partner, when you don't have active symptoms? Yes.  

If you don't have visible symptoms, will a person get active outbreaks of warts? Possibly, if previously infected, but sometimes the abnormalities may occur only on your cervix where they are not observed.  But they may cause cervical cancer or precancers.  That's why annual Pap smears once you begin sexual activity is needed as a screening test for such things.  Can the virus be shed and spread to an uninfected partner, when you don't have active symptoms? Yes.  

Good luck!

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QUESTION: Thanks. Can you tell me the relations between Herpes & chicken pox please? I read that chicken pox is a form of herpes. I also want to know if you can give it to someone through sexual intercourse.

Hello Again, Sierra,
Herpes is caused by one of two viruses, herpes simplex 1 or herpes simplex 2 (HSV 1 or HSV 2) and chickenpox is caused by another virus known as varicella zoster (VZ).  These three viruses are members of a family of viruses known as "herpesviruses" and there are 8 of them: HSV-1, HSV-2, VZ, Epstein Barr (infectious mononucleosis), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), and herpes hominus virus (HHV) types 6, 7, and 8). Although sharing some characteristics with one another, they are all distinct and different (except for HSV-1 and HSV-2, which are clinically almost identical). Both chickenpox and herpes 1 & 2 are pretty infectious and can be easily spread through contact, including sexual, to anyone previously uninfected.

Hope this addresses your questions!

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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