Thanks. I have never been diagnosed, but I think I do probably have it.
The first outbreak occurred four days after having unprotected sex with a stranger (incredibly stupid, I know). It wasn’t a blister, but it felt very painful under the foreskin, so I think it was probably a small cut instead. At the same time I had this, I also had the tell-tale tingling sensation. With the help of some lemon balm, the outbreak cleared up after just a few days so I didn’t get it checked out as I should have done.
About two months later I felt the nerves tingling again, and sure enough I had another outbreak – but this time it was just a cluster of painless red rashes on the tip of my penis. I did get these swabbed after a couple of days, but too late I think as the test came back negative. I haven’t had the prodrome since, but similar red rashes suddenly appear (always on the tip of my penis and always painless) and then disappear quite quickly (sometimes in a few hours). Strangely, they sometimes disappear when I bathe. I am sure these are recurrent HSV outbreaks and not caused by friction from sex etc (I am abstaining at the moment!).
It is difficult for me to get tested because I’m not in the US and they don’t do blood tests for herpes here. The only way to get it done is if you go to a private clinic and it’s very expensive – and I’ve heard they are not 100% reliable in any case. I suppose I could get another swab done as soon as the red rashes appear, but they vanish very quickly.
Is it true that the virus will normally travel the same route if you always have outbreaks in the same place? If this is the case, condoms should really help in preventing me transmitting the virus (this is my main concern now as the HSV isn’t causing me any pain). If it’s only present in the penis then it would be some reassurance that I can substantially reduce the risk of passing it to a future partner.
By the way, does the fact that my tingling prodrome has stopped mean anything other than the virus has become less effective now my immune system has learnt to tackle it?