Can a Reddish Inflamed area on my Inner Thigh be Herpes?

Dear Dr. Tom:

A couple of weeks ago I had contact with a woman about whom I cannot be sure if she is infected with HSV or not. Intercourse did not take place, but she did sit on my upper thighs and there was skin-to-skin contact. She had no lesions visible. About ten days later I noticed what I thought was a bug bite, a reddish inflamed area on my inner thigh. I didn’t think much of it, but then it occurred to me that it might be a symptom of herpes. The affected area did not have sores, and is fading away. Is it possible that this is herpes? I am unable to get to a doctor for at least two weeks. Is there any way to see if I was infected even after any possible symptoms have disappeared? Thanks for the info.


Dr. Tom’s Response:

Dear Will:

Development of a strange red lesion at the site following a skin-skin genital area contact with a female stranger would certainly drive most persons so exposed to see a physician. If you haven’t by now, I suggest that you do so. The red lesion could be caused by a number of possible causes, and to begin to list them here would not be helpful. The answer to your question is yes, you may be examined and tested after the symptoms have disappeared. Serologic tests can be performed on a sample of blood, and the skin area can be gently scraped and cultured for the presence of micro-organisms if any of the redness remains. Medical laboratories in most states will not perform such diagnostic tests without a physician’s request. The knowledge and experience of a physician could provide a simple and explicit answer to put your mind at rest.


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