Question :

Misdiagnoses of Genital Herpes?

Dear Ask The Doctor:
I recently have been experiencing some vaginal pain and pain while urinating, I went to see a doctor 3 days ago and she diagnosed me with a yeast infection, prescribed me some medication and sent me home. I took the medication and the itching and burning subsided for about 4 or 5 hours. I also found that taking Ibupropfen helped the pain as well. Later that night however I woke up with an extremely painful burning sensation and went into urgent care. They ran some tests and told me that I had a urinary tract infection gave me some more medication. After taking that the burning went away and so did some of the pain. This morning I had received a call from the hospital saying that I tested positive for genital herpes and prescribed me Valacyclovir, I have only been on it for one day and all my symptoms are practically gone, except for some swelling and discomfort. I also have done a lot of research on genital herpes and looked at many photos and I just wanted to know if it’s common for my symptoms to go away so quickly if I do have herpes or if there is any possibility that I was misdiagnosed.


Answer :

Dear Patient: 
The symptoms that you described are produced by the urinary tract infection, but additionally you were tested for HSV-2 and you had a positive result, which does not mean that you have a Herpes outbreak too. HSV is nowadays a very common infection, and most individuals show some evidence of HSV infection. The presence of HSV-2 can be used as an indirect measure of sexual activity in some cases. Up to 80% of herpes simplex infections are asymptomatic. The HSV infection worldwide has increased over the last several decades, making it a major public health concern. Prompt recognition of herpes simplex infection and early initiation of therapy are very important in the management of the disease. Some preventive measures include: avoiding contact with individuals who (often asymptomatically) are excreting the virus in saliva or genital secretions. Daily antiviral therapy can be given to reduce episodes of asymptomatic genital shedding and to further reduce the risk of transmission. Avoid touching saliva, skin, or mucous membranes that have sores. The sores and symptoms of herpes completely clear up in 2-3 weeks. But when you encounter certain stresses, emotional or physical, the virus may reactivate and cause new sores and symptoms.


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