herpes duration and AIDS

Question

I am a little concerned as a recent partner (hiv status unknown) had oral herpes that took longer than 10 days to disappear. While the scabs went away after about 2 weeks, a small pink patch remained for a week or two more. I have read that long bouts of herpes is a symptom of AIDS. I am very concerned that this could indicate that he is HIV positive. Can herpes last this long in a hiv- person?

Answer

For oral (or genital) herpes to be considered AIDS-associated, it must have persisted for more than 6 weeks. Usually these lesions get to be quite sizable because the HIV+ person's immune system can't contain the continued production of herpesvirus. Your friend's episode is quite within the bounds of a normal herpes outbreak.