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Date of last update: 10/12/2017.

Forum Name: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Question: Is this sore a syphilis sore or herpes on my lip?

 irish36 - Mon Sep 22, 2008 1:50 pm

About 70 days ago, I had unprotected oral sex with a woman. I know this is silly, but right after I was done (I realized that I shouldt be having oral sex with someone I didn'tknow that well), I washed my mouth very well. About five days ago, I noticed a bump on my lip with a little open area on it, almost like I bit my lip. The next day, I had what appeared to be a scab forming, but it still hasn't formed. My body is a little achy and I was feeling like I was coming down with a cold, but I am fairly physically active and the aches can be explained by that.

I have done a lot of research on syphilis, and the sore doesn't look like any of the pictures that I have seen on the internet. The sore is almost round and that is only when I move my lip around. The area looks somewhat discolored, but it is hard to tell. I have been taking a friend's zovirax just in case it is a herpes sore and the sore does seem to be going away. It has been five days and the sore is starting to go away. Will herpes medicine help a chancre go away?

Will my symptoms have taken this long to show themselves? Like I said, it has been over 70 days since my last sexual encounter.
 John Kenyon, CNA - Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:22 pm

User avatar Hi there -

The lesion certainly sounds like herpes. It could be due to the sexual encounter or it could be coincidental, since these sores are relatively common anyway.

While Zovirax can help drive a herpetic lesion into remission, there is no cure for these things. They recur randomly and can happen with on no regular basis, be gone for months or even years, only to appear again later. I have to counsel against self-treatment, however, especially with a prescription medication that belongs to someone else. Not only is this illegal, it is unwise, because there is usually a reason a medication is not available over the counter, and prescription medications have that status because not everyone can safely take everything.

The good news in all this is that you may have, via experimenting with your friend's Zovirax, confirmed the lesion is herpetic. Whether or not it is the result of your encounter is more difficult to determine, which is one reason you need to be seen by a doctor. Another reason is to be certain this is a correct assumption. This is what doctors are for (and why we have to see them to get the appropriate prescription drugs when necessary).

Your other symptoms are also consistent with a herpetic outbreak. Syphillis usually doesn't cause as much in the way of generalized physical symptoms until much later. But to be certain of what you have and to get the appropriate medication for it, you need to be seen by a healthcare provider. If this is herpes (which it very likely is), you'll need your own prescription, especially if you're sexually active. You'll also have to deal with sharing this information with partners when appropriate. There's nothing quite like this sort of "present", as you now know. Even if you didn't get it from your last partner, you can still "give" it to someone else, and that's not something you want.

I hope this is helpful. Please follow up with us as needed.

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