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Worried needlessly ????
May 23, 2001

Age 44. Divorced 3 years ago. 2 sexual partners prior to marriage. After divorce tested for STDs as I thought I would begin a new relationship. Tested positive for Herpes. Went nuts. Went to see specialist, she indicated that test to distinquish between types 1 and 2 inaccurate and indicated that 80 of population test positive for type 1. Basically told me not to worry. Still do. In the past have once in a great while had what I thought were conventional cold sores. Never experienced any sores on gentials. Recently had what I guess is a classic Herpes outbreak on my lip. Felt sluggish like coming down with a cold, lip was very sensitive, one outbreak occurred and took about 10 days to heal. 1st time i had ever had such a outbreak. Was very painful to touch. So does this mean I definitely have Herpes and probably herbes 2. In the last 3 years I have had 4 limited sexual encounters without use of a condom. One was with a woman who is probably very active. Now I am worried and regret not being more catious. I will shortly have an annual physical. Should I request the full battery of STds available (including herpes)? In the future I hope that I have enough sense to not have unprotected sex unless I become involved in a committed relationship.

Response from Mr. Kull

It seems like you are having difficulty integrating what your doctor told you with the symptoms you are experiencing. Having a cold sore on your lip in no way indicates that you have genital herpes or that you are infected with HSV-2. If you have a cold sore on your lip that does not mean that you have genital herpes. It probably indicates, as your doctor told you, that you are like 80% of the population: you have been infected with HSV-1 at some point in your life and may get ocassional cold sores. Since you've had cold sores in your life before, the sore you had on your lip is probably not a classic intial outbreak. Stress, infection (cold or flu, for example), and other unknown factors can lead to herpes outbreaks. You should avoid contact with your partner when you are experiencing cold sores.

Read more about herpes in "Sexually Transmitted Disease Basics" (http://thebody.com/safesex/stdbasics.html) or at the American Social Health Association's Herpes Resource Center (http://www.ashastd.org/hrc/index.html).

RMK



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