Thanks to those of you who have been responding to my posts, I have really appreciated the input.
I recently got my test results from the swab test and they came back negative. I talked with my regular physician and he said that we should do the blood test just to be sure. So, I will get those results probably on Friday.
I guess I'm still a bit confused about what I've got. When I initially had sx's, I had basically a generalized burning around my groin. Then I had a couple of little rash like spots appear, which have since cleared up (there's only a little redness left). The latest has been the imergence of a couple of spots on either side of my groin in my pubic region that have been bothering me. From my understanding this is sounding less and less like herpes to me. Although when I read things on the Internet basically any type of irritation in the pubic region could be indicative of herpes. However, how likely is it for herpes to get better in one area while just developing in another area? Isn't it generally more localized? I suppose my entire pubic region could have been exposed, but doesn't that seem less likely?
I guess I'll know more when I get my blood work back...
The problem with testing for herpes is that it's very tricky and not known for the greatest accuracy. With the swab test, the longer you wait after the onset of the current symptoms, the less accurate the results will be. Swab tests are notorious for "false negatives," meaning that even if it comes back as negative you can't really trust that you don't have it. If it's positive, you have it; if it's negative, you still might have it. The ideal time window for swab testing is within 24-48 hours of when the symptoms appear.
The blood tests are the opposite. The longer you wait, up to 12-16 weeks after the first onset of symptoms, the more accurate the results will be. Before then a negative result still might mean you have it. It can take a long time sometimes for enough antibodies to build up in the bloodstream to be detected by the test. If it's positive, you can pretty much trust that you have it. If it's negative and you're still within the 16 week mark, there's still a chance you might have it.
Make sure your blood test is a "type-specific" test (able to distinguish between types 1 and 2) or it won't tell you much that's useful, since most people have type 1 through cold sores (even if you don't get symptoms). The Western Blot is considered the best blood test for accuracy but it's also the most expensive. Check with your doc about which one you got and what's available at your bloodwork lab.
The migrating symptoms could make sense since herpes potentially infects a whole area of skin fed by the nerve system where it resides. For genital herpes this is usually the "boxer shorts" area and new outbreak sites could emerge anywhere in that area. That's why the Saran Wrap idea is of limited usefulness. It's also why many doctors recommend taking daily antivirals for the first year, when you're more likely to get new OB sites and more frequent OBs.
But if you're getting new OBs (of whatever it is), get another swab test done asap on a new one that comes up, ideally within 24 hours for greatest chance of accuracy. Unfortunately it's still not a guarantee that you won't get a false negative result, but it might still be worth the try.
Yea, I'll definately post my updates. I'm having my ups and downs with whatever it is I've got. One minute I'm convinced it's herpes; another I'm not. I guess I keep thinking of that old saying "if it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck and looks like a duck - then it's probably a duck". My case of herpes isn't quacking, walking, or looking like herpes so I'm strugling with it being herpes. The only thing that's got me wondering is the fact that I've had the kind of exposure that could put me at risk of herpes. I also tend to be a hypochondriac; someone less OCD about their health probably would have let it go after having a doctor tell them "no it's not herpes" after having a culture done.
Neither of the doctors I've had look at this thing tells me that what I've got looks like herpes. I know...I know...that means diddly s#it but to be truthful I am starting to care less and less about what the dx is as long as it gets dx'd because these sx's are driving me up the wall. I want to get this thing under control and I want to get it treated. Not knowing what it is I've got is driving me up the wall.
1in4, I agree with your statement about taking the swab test asap but to be truthful I don't have a lot to swab. Do they generally need to get the knife out to do a sway test? Because that's what they'd need to do in my case. I've got zip for oozing stuff to culture. All I've got is some rashy skin and that's already been cultured.
I've now been to two doctors about this thing and the second doctor, who I recently saw today, told me that he wanted to make a small incision in one of the infected areas to take a culture. Then I told him I just had a culture done that came back negative so he said "let's do the blood test." So that's where I'm at. I've got one doctor telling me it's not herpes based upon visual inspection and the swab test (he put me on an anti-fungal with a steriod in it) and another doing a blood test. I guess the bottom line is no matter how I cut it is if I do have herpes it's a light case of it and is atypical. That's not to say that it couldn't be herpes because it obviously could.
As you all can tell I'm getting more and more frustrated with my situation. My first dr was a dermatologist so one would think he would at least have a hint of a clue that this is herpes, if that's what it indeed is. I mean, good god; this guy spends his entire career focusing on diseases of the skin and he can't id herpes? If that ends up being the case I'm never going back to him again because to me that's like going to a tax accountant who can't tell me if something's a deduction or not. If he really doesn't know he should at least be up front and say he's not sure and we should work together to figure out what's wrong with my skin.
My second dr was my general physician and he doesn't think it's herpes either; but he tests the hell out of everything. Anytime I go see him with a potential problem I know that I'm going to be having blood work done so the fact he ordered up a blood test for herpes is about par for the course. My sense is that I will come back negative on the blood test as well based upon 1in4's commnets re:waiting. Then...I'll still be stuck with "crotch rot" and have zip for answers.
I like the idea of having any new outbreaks tested for a culture asap. Maybe I'll just need to be in the clinic ever other day till I get to the bottom of this thing. I really hope the anti-fungal cream kicks in and takes care of whatever it is I've got because I feel like I'm not getting to the bottom of my problem and no one seems to have the answer.
I think the cream the dermatologist gave me is helping some, although I've only been on it for 1.5 days so it may be a while before I really know if it's working. I used to get some bad, bad jock itch on my scrotom (sp?) that it would take about a solid week for the anti-fungal cream to take care of it. No, I can't be certain that it wasn't herpes on my scrotom but I'm assuming it wasn't because the cream took care of it.
Wherever I've got it's atypical. If it's a fungus then it's atypical for a fungus. If it's herpes then it's atypical for herpes. Maybe I've got a yeast infection. Knowing my luck the damn dr.s won't figure it out for like two more weeks and it'll end up being something like a yeast infection and I'll end up on monostat-7 for two days and it'll all be gone.
Sorry about carrying on and on but I'm feeling very annoyed at both the vagueness of herpes and the vagueness of my sx's and the inability of someone to dx me. I hate to say it but this is the most bizzare disease I've come accross (and I'm a bit of a hypochondriac so I know my diseases) since what could be a mosquito bite below the belly button really could be a herpedic lesion. Sheesh....how much more vague of disease could there be?
Hello Toughspot, sounds like you are going through the same problems as me. I have had a scrotal rash and two small red spots on the shaft of my penis. The red spots heal in 2 - 3 days, though they feel quite sore given the size of them. I'm a bit OCD on this one too! I went to 2 doctors and then the STD clinic. It is interesting to see the various ways each doctor looks at the symptoms the best one was the second doctor who checks the lymph nodes my temperature and took a swab. The STD clinic took one look and said no this is not Herpes, same with the first doctor. Though all doctors I saw were empathetic and did their best to make a diagnosis given the limited symptoms presented to them and I don't wish to criticise.
I have HSV1 coldsores on my mouth, the blood test I have done for earlier similar undiagnosed symptoms gave HSV1 + and HSV2 - but I'll have to wait 3 months and do the test again.
At present I await the results for the latest swab to see what comes out of that.
Please keep me posted if you update on here drop me an email at [ please carefully review the posting rules - no emails ]
Last edited by moderator2; 01-04-2005 at 08:50 PM.