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Prevention Strategy - Condom & Purell?


bobsmith12345

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I'm not sure if I have hsv 1 and/or 2 but judging from my crazy symptoms I feel pretty strongly that I contracted both from one limited encounter (my bad luck).

I will be abstaining from sex for a long time until I know with near 100% certainty.

In the meantime, I'm already preparing for life with hsv1&2 and am wondering if anyone has tried to use purell etc as a prevention method and not just as a treatment.. so before sex:

1. Inspect to make sure that there are no visible skin bumps, blisters, or irritations

2. Bathe to wash any possible asymptotic shedding areas.

3. Use a latex condom

4. Use purell or germ-x on skin area around (NOT ON) condom that could come into contact with partner to kill any possible virus living on top of skin. This could help kill virus cells that are not visible to the eye but are at risk of coming into contact with partner.

I think you will have to make sure that these alcohol based agents are well tolerated on your body because if your skin is irritated or inflamed, it could increase chances of infection.

Any thoughts?

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Ouch!

Alcohol-based concoctions such as Purell are not vagina friendly.

This plan actually seems like overkill to me. Avoiding sex during outbreaks lowers the chances of transmission greatly. Using condoms plus suppressive (daily) antiviral therapy such as Valtrex brings the transmission stats down quite a bit more.

Just my own personal opinion, but I would suggest you discuss the whole plan with your partner. If I were her, I wouldn't be inclined to want my guy to treat himself like a HazMat incident in need of abatement prior to sex.

Oh, and more to the point, why not find out whether or not you actually have herpes before going into full decon mode? This may all be for no reason. Have you had any testing done yet? What are these "crazy symptoms" of which you type?

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Hey RG - thanks for the response. I wrote a long response a day ago but it didn't get posted. Anyway, IMO alcohol-based concoctions dry extremely quickly, are easy to apply, and would not come in contact with her sensitive areas. It would be used to treat areas around the genital area that could possibly be experiencing shedding but that is no overly sensitive.

Your HazMat comment is appreciated but I made a promise to myself and to my partner to do everything within reason to protect her and I believe taking a daily pill, wearing a condom, and slapping on some disinfectant are all reasonable preventative measures to protect a loved one from being infected with an incurable virus.

I would love to have confirmation of my positive or negative status but my symptoms are not quite as definitive as some others.

Just to name a few: slightly raised or flat bumps of varying sizes on legs, buttocks, around mouth (chin and close to lip). They are clustered to a degree but do not resemble the vesicles that are commonly associated with the virus. They also have not blistered, ulcerated, and aren't painful. The timeline and ongoing symptoms do not indicate a primary infection because they are not severe enough by most experts' opinions for someone that was hsv-1 and 2 negative prior to possible exposure and primary infection almost always appears ON genitals. Also, if this is recurrent symptoms they would much more likely be on one side of the body and not be spread out as much as mine are. Doctors told me that bumps aren't bad/big enough to culture and told me to wait to get another blood test. Also, one prescribed five days of Valtrex (upon my insistence) and that could lead to a false negative if the second doctor cultured anything. Had two negative IgG blood tests @ 10 days & 40 days for hsv 1&2. I'm approaching the 12 week mark and will be getting at least one more blood test in the near future.

Regardless, I feel very strongly that I contracted hsv 1&2 from one encounter. I know that viral bumps come and go and that is what I am experiencing and I've had some of the neck lymph node swelling, itchiness, tingling, run-down etc that people frequently associate with hsv. Also, my encounter was with an anonymous college girl that was undergoing a great deal of stress on that day (took the LSAT that morning) and as you know stress is a commonly associated trigger for hsv-1 & 2 outbreaks for many people. To make matters worse, my immune system was most likely suppressed because of an ongoing cold.

Thanks again & sorry for the long reply!

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I would still suggest skipping the Purell in this plan. Someone in another thread mentioned that it is irritating to the skin, and is actually likely to trigger an outbreak.

I don't know if that is true or not, but I will say that I really don't believe it will do anything more than the soap and water you are already planning to use as prep for sex. Soap and water are proven to deactivate the herpes viral particles on contact. So if you do that, you've already accomplished what you would be planning to do with the alcohol-based cleanser, with potentially less irritation.

Now...more importantly, just go get tested. There is no point in all these elaborate preparations if you don't have herpes, right?

How long ago did your possible exposure occur?

Find out whether or not you have herpes. Then go from there. :hello:

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Exposure was close to 10 weeks ago. These preparations help me deal with the very real possibility of having to deal with it for the rest of my life and makes it easier for me to cope. Also, it's actually somewhat interesting to me.

I find it shocking that they don't already sell microbicides for this purpose and I am aware of the ongoing clinical trials so that maybe with fast-track status we can expect to see it in 25 years (sarcasm).

Also, I'd like to know what others think... because to me... purell and other like sanitizer are made/tested on many areas of human skin and have been proven to be well tolerated over the years. They are also proven to kill most bacteria and viruses and it seems to me that it would offer an extra layer of security because the formulation is more potent than a typical bar of soap. Again, this is just a thought. Necessity is the mother of invention.

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Exposure was close to 10 weeks ago. These preparations help me deal with the very real possibility of having to deal with it for the rest of my life and makes it easier for me to cope. Also, it's actually somewhat interesting to me.

Okay, if it is helping you cope (as opposed to making you focus on something you might not even have), you might as well go with that strategy.

Also, I'd like to know what others think... because to me... purell and other like sanitizer are made/tested on many areas of human skin and have been proven to be well tolerated over the years.

The reason the label states keep out of the reach of children is so that parents will supervise the use of these products by children, in order to make sure the product has completely dried before the child touches the mouth, eyes or any mucus membranes. Those areas do not do well with ethyl alcohol and perhaps some of the other ingredients. (This paraphrased info comes from a FAQ on Pfizer's page.) The vagina is totally mucus membrane. So that was my main concern. I guess if it is dry, it's okay. I still see it as unnecessary if you are using soap and water before that, but if it makes you happy and is used in a way that doesn't harm your gal, that's all that counts.

They are also proven to kill most bacteria and viruses and it seems to me that it would offer an extra layer of security because the formulation is more potent than a typical bar of soap. Again, this is just a thought. Necessity is the mother of invention.

Another point on that FAQ page applies here. It states: "How long after I use the Purell® instant hand sanitizer does it kill germs?

Purell® products have no residual germ-killing effect. Purell® products kill germs on contact, but once it has evaporated, the germ-killing action has stopped."

Soap and water have actually been studied for their efficacy in inactivating herpes. Basically, they do so on contact too. Can't get much better than that. Add to that, a girl can't help but be pleased with a guy for having a shower-fresh aroma!

If I were you, I'd go ahead with testing at this point. 10 weeks is long enough that most folks will show seroconversion. The median time for seroconversion as detected by the Herpeselect test is 21 days for HSV2 and 25 days for HSV1. If you come back positive at this point, you'll know and can get on with it. If you come up negative now, you can repeat the test later.

Have you considered using the Western Blot as absolute confirmation of your status?

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Results

3rd blood test results - 68 days (10 weeks) - negative for both HSV-1 & 2.

At this point, I'm going to wait another 3-7 weeks and probably get either another type specific blood test or the Western Blot. More than likely I will probably only get a WB if I need clarification on a low positive or an equivocal result. But so far, I'm negative.

Does a doctor have to order the WB or can you just do it online through a service like justgettested.com?

I have little interest in going to the doctor again unless my symptoms become more severe.

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Bob, you could become a phone patient of Terri Warren's Westover Heights Clinic. If I were going to get the Western Blot done, that is the way I would do it. The average doc in the field is not very aware of it. I'm not sure, but I doubt justgettested does them.

Incidentally, it sounds like it is going to turn out that you do not have herpes. I'm happy for you and your partner.

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I may do just that. When would you suggest that I get it done - now, 12 weeks, 14, 16? My symptoms are getting worse. No blisters but usually after sitting for a long time, the skin gets bright red and looks irritated. The itchiness and the redness comes and goes. The bumps persist for days and they are somewhat clustered now. I'm now seriously considering going back to the doctor. At least he may prescribe some antivirals. I ordered some from a shady website and I'm pretty sure that they are placebos. I only did it to save from the embarrassment of going to the doctor for the third time and arguing with him that I have hsv or another virus despite three negative blood tests (all too soon to be conclusive). I can already picture myself being one of the unlucky few that never seroconverts and that the symptoms are never the classic blister/ulcer formations. I wish this stuff was otc.

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What other conditions have been considered/ruled out?

Really nothing has been ruled out except for some common bacterial STD's and everything is being considered.

For me, there is no 'last possible exposure' - there is just 1 possible exposure because I am in happy monogamous relationship with a person that is as clean as they come.

Symptom Timeline:

Oct 9: Exposure (Out of town and didn't shower or wash until the next morning because I was camping. I showered the next morning and used a towel that a friend purchased at a store and wasn't able to wash the towel first so I sometimes think that it's possible but unlikely that some of these symptoms could be due from either camping or the towel)

Oct 10-19: Genital itching (After reading the internet thought that it could be lice or crabs so I purchased lice shampoo and used only once)

Oct 11 - Early Nov - Off and on lymph node swelling in neck and general sick feeling

Nov 5 - Bumps around lips start to appear off and on and heal in 3-5 days

Nov 8 - 13 - Bumps around mouth (not on) and chin get worse appear more clustered on corners of mouth (heal in 7-12 days)

Nov 17 - Several bumps appear on buttocks

Nov 19 - Large bump on my leg appears (redness from this bump actually still persist today). Soon after, bumps appear on both thighs - many of which are still there but very small and look to be almost completely healed.

Dec - Bumps on buttocks come and go and appear to be more rash-like with every occurrence

Most likely possibilities:

#1 HSV (my bumps don't blister and haven't tested positive on blood tests yet) #2 Folliculitis (my bumps come and go with more frequency) #3. Keratosis psoriasis (my skin doesn't resemble 'chicken skin') #5. Staph #6. Molluscum Contagiosum (my bumps aren't dimpled, domed, or shiny) #7. HIV (I hope not)

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What other conditions have been considered/ruled out?

For me, there is no 'last possible exposure' - there is just 1 possible exposure because I am in happy monogamous relationship with a person that is as clean as they come.

I don't understand your answer. Have you or have you not had skin to skin contact with anyone? If so, when was the last time prior to the start of your symptoms?

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Well, okay. That talks about a towel. Are you thinking that you got herpes, or whatever you might have, by using that towel?

If you are being shy about discussing the specifics of any actual skin to skin contact, it makes it hard to help you. If you didn't have skin to skin contact, I'd say the chances are very, in fact extremely, slim that you have herpes.

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I'm not sure how we've gotten so far off track. I had sex with a girl other than my significant other on October 9, 2010. The other stuff included above are symptoms and the towel/camping description is just another possible cause (but extremely unlikely) for the symptoms I'm experiencing if it turns out I don't have herpes. Let me be clear: I think I got herpes on Oct 9 from a girl that I had skin to skin contact with by having unprotected vaginal sex. The only thing I'm trying to consider is how long should I take to have another blood test and/or the Western Blot. Hopefully this clears up any confusion.

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So here's what I've got so far. Some of it is assumptions drawn from things you have said here --- please correct if I am wrong.

Your only non-SO sex was on October 9, and it was vaginal sex. (Can we assume you also kissed her on the mouth or gave her oral sex? You mentioned sores on your mouth...)

Your SO has been tested clear of herpes.

You don't know the herpes status of this other woman.

Your symptoms started the very next day after having sex with the other woman.

You've had positive IgM tests, but all IgG tests have come back negative. (Is that for both HSV1 and HSV2, or only for HSV2?)

If it were me, I'd wait until January 29 (16 weeks) and have a Western Blot for confirmation.

Also, if you got any more sores, either oral or genital, I would have those swabbed and cultured immediately. I've read that it does not have to be a blister type sore for an experienced doc to get a successful swab. Perhaps it would be worth seeking out a doc in your area who is experienced (maybe even a specialist) with STIs, rather than a GP or whatever.

Also, since you have no known indication (of which I am aware) that either woman with whom you have had sex has herpes, I would be looking for other possible causes for your symptoms.

This is just what I would do if I were in your place.

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Thanks for reply. I will wait a few weeks and get a WB. Just to clarify a few things, no positive IgM (haven't had an IgM test), no oral sex but we did kiss.

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Thanks for reply. I will wait a few weeks and get a WB. Just to clarify a few things, no positive IgM (haven't had an IgM test), no oral sex but we did kiss.

Sorry for the confusion, Bob. I got your test results situation mixed up with another fellow's. My bad.

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