ZocdocAnswersCould I have herpes?

Question

Could I have herpes?

My sister has herpes and I mistakenly wore her yoga pants. I did take them off when I realized they weren't mine, but they hadn't been washed previously. Also, I don't know if my sister was having an outbreak or "shedding"...? I'm concerned because I have regularly gotten large ingrown hairs on the insides of my thighs. I have had doctors prescribe me antibiotics in this past. They have mostly subsided. But after wearing her yoga pants today--I have a new outbreak. Normally, I would just assume it was another one of my ingrown hairs but after wearing my sisters yoga pants I am worried! I also did read that herpes is contracted through sensitive skin and my skin is very sensitive down there from my ingrown hairs! Although, the outbreak does seems the like an ingrown, looks like what I usually get, but it does have like a sort of ident in it, very circular, discolored, and it burns a little--but I was inspecting it which may cause the burning sensation.

Answer

Thank you for your question about herpes. Herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus and can appear in two forms, genital and oral. Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease usually due to herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2). It can also be due to HSV-1, the cause of oral herpes (cold sores on the mouth and lips). Oral herpes can easily spread from person to person through contact with active cold sores on the mouth. This includes sharing utensils, cigarettes, glasses, kissing, etc. Genital herpes, however, is transmitted between partners through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. There is no risk of genital herpes spread through environmental surfaces such as toilet seats, bed sheets, or your sister's clothing. The discolored area of skin you are describing is not the typical appearance of a herpes lesion. Herpes starts off as vesicles--small fluid filled, round blisters. These blisters can rupture and become exquisitely painful. I would encourage you to see your primary care physician about what may be recurrent folliculitis, or infection of hair follicles. He or she can help determine whether another antibiotic course would be appropriate, and what you can do to prevent future episodes. Good skin hygiene is important in these situations--changing out your razor frequently, avoiding hot tubs, and keeping your skin well hydrated. Again, please speak with your primary care physician.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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