Dear Dr. Rob:

I recently found out I had Herpes Simplex 2. This was quite a surprise to me, because I have not really had any outbreaks. About a year ago, I had something that looked like an ingrown hair on the lower shaft of my penis. I went to the doctor at the time and he said he thought it was an ingrown hair as well and didn’t test me. Since then, I haven’t had any kind of sores whatsoever. My question is: Is it possible for my case to be very mild and me be usually asymptomatic? If I am asymptomatic, how easily can I transmit the disease? And finally, are there any other symptoms besides blisters/sores?

Dr. Rob’s Response:

Dear Recently Diagnosed:

You may be very asymptomatic, but you can still transmit the disease.  In fact, even without lesions, shedding occurs, and 75% of transmission occurs during periods when there are no overt lesions. I cannot state with certainty whether your ingrown-hair-like lesion was the initiation or the herald lesion for herpes. I would suggest the Herpes Select Test to determine what is the diagnosis.


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