Q. The blisters on my penis look like herpetic lesions, then why did HSV test come back negative?

Answered by
Dr. Bharatesh Devendra Basti
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
Published on Jun 13, 2017 and last reviewed on: Oct 09, 2018

Hi doctor,

I am a 37 year old male, who weighs 195 lbs, and I am 5.10 feet tall. I had blisters on my penis, so I went to a clinic. The doctor said that it appears to be herpes, but because I do not have pain, fever, or any other symptoms, he believed this was from friction. He told me to get HSV-1 and HSV-2 tests, which came back negative. However, I have read that this test may have been done too soon and my body might not have enough antibodies to detect the disease. Is this correct? If you have blisters from herpes, would not your body immediately have antibodies building up to fight the virus causing this, enough to register on the blood work? I am attaching a photo of the blisters.

Dr. Bharatesh Devendra Basti

Community Medicine Dermatology HIV/AIDS Specialist Preventive Medicine Venereology


Welcome to icliniq.com.

Thank you for the query. I have seen the attached photo (attachment removed to protect patient identity).

  • It appears to be herpes simplex lesions. But, it may be due to any irritation or friction too. It may be due to HSV (herpes simplex virus) 1 or 2 if it is herpes.
  • Yes, the antibodies may take few days to appear. The test also can come false negative in few cases. You can retest for HSV 1 and 2 IgM and IgG antibodies after 1 to 2 weeks.
  • If you had exposure to herpes infected person, it could be more likely due to herpes. Continue the treatment as advised by your doctor.

For more information consult a dermatologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/dermatologist

Thank you doctor,

I picked up a copy of the reports today, and the test performed was IgG. I have read it could take up to 12 weeks to get an accurate result. I have had no other symptoms. However, I think it might be herpes too. Unfortunately, the doctor again said that it was not herpes because I had no pain. But I have read that it is not a significant symptom. Am I right?

Dr. Bharatesh Devendra Basti

Community Medicine Dermatology HIV/AIDS Specialist Preventive Medicine Venereology


Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Thank you for the follow-up query.

  • Pain, burning, irritation, fever, etc., need not be present in all patients. IgG appears late after few days or weeks.
  • IgM appears first but later disappears. You can go for IgM and IgG antibodies for HSV-1 and 2 after two weeks. Herpes is known to recur. Hope for the best.

For further queries consult a dermatologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/dermatologist

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