Herpes: Do Sores on Both Sides of the Body Mean AIDS?
A friend of mine discovered that she has genital herpes. Her doctor said that if the herpes sores are on both sides of her body it would mean she has AIDS. She had some sores on her right leg. They went away, but a couple of months later, she had some on her left hand. She freaked because of what she'd been told. I'm worried about her. Is what the doctor said true? It's making my friend a nervous wreck.
I certainly hope your friend just misunderstood her doctor, because otherwise someone is spreading some serious misinformation around -- herpes lesions can be found on both sides.
Usually genital herpes is just that -- on or very near the genitals. Herpes lesions tend to be quite painful, especially with the first outbreak. Subsequent outbreaks usually occur in the same area but are less severe. A typical herpes lesion starts as a small vesicle, or blister, and later ulcerates and crusts over. Often these lesions are in clusters and may be found in mirror image on both labia (vaginal lips).
Your friend should see another doctor who can do two things: confirm she really has herpes and properly educate her about this disease. Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease, and it is true that having one STD places one in a higher risk category for HIV, another STD. After all, if you have been exposed to one sexually transmitted infection, you may have been exposed to another as well. It is prudent for everyone who has been diagnosed with an STD to be tested for HIV too. Also, because an active herpes lesion is an open sore, having sex with an HIV-positive person while there are lesions present does increase the risk of contracting HIV.
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