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STD Advice Column
Did My Boyfriend Give Me Genital Herpes?


Dear STD Advice,

Recently I came home from being away at school. After making love to my boyfriend I found that I had the following symptoms:

  • "cottage cheesy" vaginal discharge
  • swelling, red, itchiness
  • burning especially during urination

I also noticed, however, while I was researching what this might be that my lymph node glands were swollen in my groin, my armpit and my neck. I also found tiny painful bumps on my outer lips. My boyfriend did have canker sores and he did go down on me. Is it possible that the canker sores were a form of herpes that got transferred to me?
Also, are swollen lymph node glands and the bumps possible symptoms of a yeast infection as well? - Herpes Concern

Dear Herpes Concern,
While canker sores are typically not known to transfer disease (or be contagious), cold sores are as they are caused by HSV-1, the Herpes Simplex Virus. Cold sores (fever blisters) will generally appear on the outside of the lip, very visible to others. Cold sores are highly contagious and a person with them must avoid intimate contact during an outbreak. A person can transfer HSV-1 from the mouth to the genital area of another person through oral contact.

If your boyfriend has HSV-1 then it is possible that he transferred the Herpes virus to you during oral sex. You should immediately see a physician to confirm this, get counseling, and get treated.

Symptoms of Herpes generally occur anytime within 14 days after exposure. However, some people can be exposed, catch it, but not display any symptoms.

For people that do experience symptoms, you'll find those to generally be as follows (and not necessarily all of these):

- Swollen glands
- Sores (either painful or itchy - or both)
- Fever
- Muscle aches and headaches
- Burning sensation during urination
- Itching or burning sensation in genital area

Because the symptoms vary widely, many people who have genital herpes may mistake it as a "yeast infection". This is why it is vital that you have a physician examine you ASAP. You need to know whether it is an STD or vaginal yeast infection.

Having an STD, like genital herpes, can create an emotional strain. It's important, though, to realize that you're not alone in this. It is estimated that 25% of all women have genital herpes. That's tens of millions of people. Your physician can help counsel you on this and there are many online support groups that can also be of assistance.

While there is no cure for genital herpes, there are treatments available that you will want to seek out from your physician if you are, indeed, diagnosed with it. Generally, the first outbreak will be the worse.


If you have a question for the STD Advice column, simply put your question in the anonymous form below and click Submit. Once you click Submit, your question will be anonymously emailed to us. While we can't answer or publish all questions, we do try to questions within a one week period of submission. Check back to see if yours is answered.



Only a physician can properly diagnose whether or not you have an STD. Thus it is important that you get an STD test done if you have a concern. None of the advice given in this column is a substitute for physician advice.

If you think you may have a sexually transmitted disease, you should see a physician immediately to be properly diagnosed and treated. You should not try to diagnose or treat symptoms on your own.

Getting Help for an STD >


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