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do i have herpes?
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do i have herpes?

a few years ago i had sex with a man that had herpes.  we had protected sex each time.  unfortunate he did not tell me he had herpes until very late in the relationship.  long story short.....i showed no symptoms and waited several months to get a blood test.  the blood test came back positive for antibodies.  it has been years now and i still have never had symptoms.  am i an asyptomatic carrier?  should i tell my new partner that i have been exposed to the virus, or that i have herpes, or nothing at all?  i am very confused as to where this leaves me. my body obviously mounted an immune response to the virus but i never had symptoms.  what does that mean for me and for my future partner?  and how do i find out if i really have herpes, or not, without having symptoms?  thanks for your help.

carrie
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Positive blood tests don't mean much--only that your body was exposed to the virus, not that you have the condition.  Are you sure the test was very specific for Herpes 2, rather than the herpes 1 that causes cold sores, not genital herpes?  You ought to check this.

Either way, if you've never had symptoms and if you used protection at the time of contact, I really don't think you have to say anything at all, because I don't think you have herpes.

Take care.

Dr. Rockoff
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If your blood test came back positive then that means that you have the virus in your system. You wouldn't have antibodies if you didn't have herpes. You either have it or you don't have it. It is possible that you don't get any signs or symptoms. There are many people out there that have herpes and don't know it because of this fact.

In my opinion you should talk to your partner about where you are at in all of this ... perhaps the both of you can go in together and have accurate herpes testing completed so you will both know where you stand.

If you need to reach me at any time you can write to me at: ***@****

Hang in there,

Angela

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You said:

"Positive blood tests don't mean much--only that your body was exposed to the virus, not that you have the condition. Are you sure the test was very specific for Herpes 2, rather than the herpes 1 that causes cold sores, not genital herpes? You ought to check this."

Type Specific Herpes Blood Tests will tell a person if they have type-1, type-2, both, or none at all. There are not seperate tests for each type of herpes.

You can read about site and type guidelines here:
http://members.cox.net/yoshi2me/Site-Type/Site-Type.htm

Also, genital herpes can be type-1. Proper herpes testing as I mentioned above will tell a person if they have type-1, type-2, both, or none at all. The only thing that a type specific herpes blood test can't do is tell a person the location of the virus which would be at the top of the spine or at the base of the spine in the ganglia.

Best Wishes,

Angela


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I just read what you posted and I think you have bought into this philosphy of the "herpes scare". So lets look at this logically. I in fact have debated this with experts and have emails to prove it. If you read on some of these sites they did change some of what they have said on due to misleading and unclear information.
For one if your mom has HSV 2 she passes the antibodies on to you. So how do you know that you have it with a blood test if your mom might have it and not tell you? Also HSV 2 blood tests cannot tell if you will in fact transmit the virus to someone else just that you could 3-4% of the time. It cannot tell you if you have the virus in your body or even on your genitals, or if you will ever be syptomatic. Just that you have been exposed. Also the 80% of people that have it don't know they have it is a BS scare tactic. When in fact if you read 80% of HSV 2 people are in fact symptomatic NOT ASYMPTOMATIC. They might know they have it but very often don't tell people they have it, they could be mentally ill as most often people infected with STD's are and just not know anything at all about STD's. I do not see how blood tests are useful. I do not have HSV but was in a relationship with someone that does have it and it absolutley is not CANCER so lets stop making it seem so serious.
regards
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If you stick to the Centers for Disease Control and the Herpes Resource Center you will find that the information that they have pertaining to herpes is accurate and factual.

Herpes Resource Center:
http://www.ashastd.org/hrc/index.html
These are the same people that run the National Herpes Hotline.

First of all ... shared antibodies between mother and child happen while the baby is inside the placenta and also when the mother breastfeeds her baby. Once a baby has been born or the mother stops breastfeeding ... antibodies are no longer shared.

As for herpes testing ... a herpes type specific blood test will tell you if you have type-1, type-2, both or none at all. Herpes Specific Blood tests WILL most definately tell you if you have the virus in your body. I don't know who told you differently ... but the information that you have is *not* correct.

You speak of herpes as if type-2 is the only type of herpes simplex virus out there ... type-1 is just as prevelant and can be located on the genitals just as easily as type-2. I do not believe you are up on your site and type guidelines where herpes is concerned.

A herpes blood test is useful to the person that has herpes and doesn't know it because they don't ever get any signs or symptoms and continue to pass or spread the virus unknowingly. For the person that gets nothing to culture ASAP a herpes type specific blood test will most definately solve a lot of problems.

You are right ... herpes is not Cancer ... but it's still a sexually transmitted disease that to this date has no cure. Please don't minimize this because you feel it's not that big of deal. It can be a huge deal for many people. Once correct information is passed it's easier to cope and figure out what to do to move on with ones life. But, it's the people that like to dance around the issue or sweep it under the rug that perpetuate this stigma associated with this std.

Each person that asks about herpes here on this "pay-for" forum has a right to know the truth concerning herpes.

Best Wishes,

Angela

PS Unless you have been specifically tested for herpes you couldn't possibly know if you have it or not since it's *not* included in the routine std testing process.

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Angela,
For one I do not think I am dancing around this or sweeping it under the rug. I think you are providing some accurate information but you need to explain it better. Like why don't you tell people the small risk that is involved of contracting this virus. How much condoms reduce this small risk etc. I know those numbers BTW if ya need them lol. Instead of perpetuating fear like we do in the USA tell all the facts not just the scary ones so people can really make informed decisions.

Angela just for you I went to ashastd.org and drum roll please from the site you are saying check it out:

"Blood tests can be used when a person has no visible symptoms but has concerns about having herpes.  Blood tests do not actually detect the virus; instead, they look for antibodies (the body
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi there ...

:)

Actually the risk in contracting herpes is not small providing the virus is active on the surface of the skin and there is skin to skin rubbing or friction from rubbing. A condom is not 100% effective even though it is still good to use them. The reason why a condom is not 100% effective is because it doesn't cover the entire gentital area. Genital herpes resides in the sacral ganglia which means that it can travel to the surface of the skin at any point below the waste line.

Yes ... blood tests will tell you if you have herpes type-1, type-2, both or none at all. Accurate herpes type specific tests will do this ... not all blood tests will result in accurate test results. If you are looking for the best herpes blood test then I would have to say that the "Herpes Specific Western Blot Test" is the best. It's considered the "Gold Standard" in herpes testing.

This is why the CDC says that the results are not always clear cut ...      :)

Actually ... the company behind the POCkit went bankrupt and that is why the POCkit is no longer available to the public. I know this because I am a HELP facilitator for the American Social Health Association. They were also have distribution and financial trouble. The POCkit was a good test in that it was a ***** of the finger and would tell a person if they had type-2 in their body. The only downfall to that particular blood test was that it will not tell a person if they have type-1 in their body.

As for babies ... I have about five weeks left in my pregnancy and am fully versed on the sharing of antibodies. Once I discontinue breastfeeding ... we no longer share our antibodies and no the baby will not keep the shared once for life.   :)

As for herpes experts ... I suggest that you post your herpes questions to Terri Warren over on WebMD. She won't charge you either.   :) Here's her link:

http://boards.webmd.com/topic.asp?topic_id=90

She also runs her own clinic out in oregon and has written the Updated Herpes Handbook which you are free to read on line if you'd like. Here's the link for that:

http://www.westoverheights.com/freebooktext.html

Ms. Warren does many herpes speaking engagements around the country so I don't think you will be dissapointed with her help.

In the meantime ... I am willing to bet that since herpes is not included in the routine std testing process ... that you probably have never been tested. So ... on that note I wish you a good evening and have fun with your research.

Angela

HELP Facilitator and Patient Advocate


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HEY,
I knew somehow you were with ASHA. I know who Terri Warren is and Ann Wald. And I know their opinions. I also know about many others opinions on this very controversial subject.
The risk is small if there are no symptoms is what I meant. ASYMPTOMATIC shedding happens less frequently based upon occurance and a blood test cannot tell you when or if you shed. SO WHY GET IT? That is my point. Why get something and live your life around fear if you have no conclusive evidence? And yes POCKIT went bankrupt b/c people do not buy into this hype. This STD has been around a long time and was diagnosed for years before without the blood tests. I disagree on your blood antibodies to your baby. I am willing to bet you that it is not so easy to do the WESTERN BLOT from Washinton University that they use to help fund the Remington Clinic. I am willing to bet you that most people that have this STD know it and don't tell people they have had the symptoms. We can agree to disagree. I suggest reading more of the Internationl Herpes Managment website stuff and talking to experts that have been doing this a long time.

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You are right . . . we will have to agree to disagree. It sounds as though you are in denial when it comes to herpes for your own personal reasons which are probably left unsaid on this forum. I'm glad to hear that you know of Terri Warren and Anna Wald. Yes, when the virus is not active on the surface of the skin ... the risk is small. But, unfortunately you can not tell when the virus is active if the person doesn't get signs or symptoms. That's why most doctors tell their patients that it's still possible to pass herpes even if there are no outbreaks. Herpes testing is important and it should be part of the routine std testing process. To take it one step further ... pregnant women should be screened for herpes as well. Nobody said that anybody with herpes has to live their life in fear. I have had genital herpes for eight years and I have a great life. I am married to a man that doesn't have genital herpes and we are about to have a baby. Herpes doesn't define who I am as a person and my partner could care less about the subject. But, that doesn't mean that others don't have a right to accurate information. People have a right to know if they have herpes and the facts surrounding this std that currently does not have a cure. I will disagree with you again ... anybody can get the Herpes Specific Western Blot as long as they have a doctor that is willing to go the extra mile to call the lab and send off the blood work for their patient. Doctors do it all the time for their patients. So ... you and I will have to agree to disagree ... and perhaps if you haven't been tested for herpes ... you might want to request a herpes test ... since it's *not* included in the routine std testing process.

Best Wishes,

Angela

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dear crazy brain,
just out of curiosity,
why do say that most people w/ stds are mentally ill?
im assuming from ur nickname, u are mentally ill urself, but i was just wondering what that meant, if u can elaborate??
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Avatar_n_tn
Pandora no I am not mentally ill I work with that population however. Yes there is a higher rate of people with SMI (Serious Mental Illness) with STD than the normal population. Due to Personality disorders, Schizophrenia putting them at higher risk behavior.
yoshi2me- Everything you are saying comes from the very controversial University of Washington point of view. There are many experts of HSV that are MD's that will tell you a HSV 2 serology type specific means only that the likelihood is increased but not proven. It cannot tell you if in fact you will pass on the virus to someone. The only way to do that is to measure this in a lab daily. So why don't you tell them some of these positive things not just the hype from that on University. Like do you know that Asymptomatic shedding occurs less frequently in women with established HSV-2 infection (mean: 4% of days). Up to 5-10% of days in those withnewly acquired infections (<2 years).g) Asymptomatic shedding as detected by PCR present on 28% of days(range 0 to 77%).i) Shedding dramatically reduced, although not eradicated by acyclovirchemosuppression.j) In a recent study, the rate of subclinical shedding in patients with noreported history of genital herpes was similar to that in patients with sucha history (3.0% vs. 2.7%).k) Vulva and perianal areas in women and penile skin and perianal area in en are the most common sites of asymptomatic shedding.
PEACE
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Avatar_n_tn
hey,
Can u give me ur thoughts on HSV1 genital herpes?  I have a post under the title "HSV" on 11-6-03, if u care to read it.  It's so long I don't have the energy to write it again. thanks.
Pan
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Avatar_n_tn
2) is it a given that if it was a herpes lesion, my partner will get it during the unprotected 5 seconds of sex that we had?

HSV 1 has a lower viral shedding rate then HSV 2 which you can read what I posted on how small that is without symptoms above. Remember too what YOSMHI and these others are not telling you that they are counting the shedding before symptoms and after symptoms without visible but possibly achy, flu like symptoms present. The HSV virus is active a few days before visible outbreaks and after it has healed a few days after that. So I doubt he got it really, but yes it is possible. It is possible he could get it from a toilet seat at work, etc...In suggest just wearing a condom telling him the risk involved and if he does not want to be with you there are others that will I am sure. It is bad to be in that place where you are examining yourself when these people that say they are trying to educate just scare you. They can tell you that it is possible to get it this way and that but what they don't tell you are the one common symptoms that is always there 99% of the time. And that does exist so to answer your question go to your local Health Department usually the State STD doctors are very good and well trained.
PEACE
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Avatar_n_tn
hi,
What are your thoughts on HSV1 genital herpes?  I posted a question on 11/6/03 under the title "HSV", if you care to read it.  any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.  thanks
Pan
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Avatar_n_tn
sorry!!! didnt realize it posted the first time, just ignore this.
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Avatar_n_tn
You said: "Can u give me ur thoughts on HSV1 genital herpes?"

Here's some excellent information on Site and Type Guidelines as well as the differences between type-1 and type-2:

http://members.cox.net/yoshi2me/Site-Type/Site-Type.htm

Hope this helps,

Angela
***@****
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Avatar_n_tn
The fact of the matter is that the Herpes Specific Western Blot test is a Blood Test done at the University of Washington and it's considered the GOLD STANDARD in herpes testing. This blood test will tell a person if they have type-1, type-2, both or none at all. A person has the right to know if they have herpes ... especially if they do not get signs or symptoms.

A person either has it or they don't have it ~ it's that simple.

Best Wishes,

Angela
***@****

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Avatar_n_tn
How do I know if I have genital herpes?

If you too have genital herpes, you may show similar symptoms to those of your partner. However, signs of infection vary greatly between individuals and it is possible for you to show only mild symptoms that are not so easily recognizable as being genital herpes. These may include itching in the genital area, small cracks in the skin around the genitals, or reddened patches of skin in the genital area, thighs or buttocks, or you may have no symptoms at all.

If you think you might be showing signs of the infection, consult your doctor. Until recently, diagnosis could only be made by clinical symptoms and swabs to detect the virus during an active episode. However, blood tests are becoming commercially available that can distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2 antibodies. The time taken to develop antibodies after initial infection is normally 8 to 12 weeks. It is also important to know that false positives and false negatives can occur with these tests.

Blood tests cannot definitively diagnose herpes, they can only tell you whether or not you are infected with HSV-1 and/or HSV-2 - they cannot identify the site of infection. A swab taken from a genital site test is also required; if this tests positive - that is, virus is detected - the diagnosis of genital herpes is confirmed. It is recommended you discuss the implications of tests for genital herpes with someone who has experience with them.
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55646_tn?1263664409
I would be very interested in you identifying "herpes experts" who do not believe that having an accurate positive antibody test does NOT equate to being infected with HSV.  Please quote names and articles, if you have them.  By the way, the expert's name is Anna  Wald, not Ann Wald.  

A baby born to a mother with HSV 2 will have maternal antibody in their system for about 6 months, and will then not have it anymore.  It is simply not true that they continue to have antibody into their adult lives.  Unless they are infected, it is not their antibody, it is their mom's antibody that is passed to them transplacentally.  If you are interested in learning more about this, please read articles by Dr. Rich Whitley or Dr. Zane Brown.  

I would also be interested in the reference that you may have on people with STDs having a higher rate of serious mental illness.  Is that just any STD or only herpes?  I think we would all very much like to see that reference.  

Have you had an opportunity to review the article by Anna Wald in the New England Journal of Medicine, 2000, 342:845-850 which documents that people who simply test positive by blood test, with no recognized symptoms, shed asymptomatically at the same rate as those who do have recognized symptoms and did daily home swabbing in between outbreaks?  

Also, are you aware that during the transmission study, the mean rate of shedding in those who took placebo was about 11% of the days that we looked, on average?  And that was in people who had had herpes infection for an average of 7 years; those who are infected for a shorter period of time likely shed more often.  

POCkit did not go bankrupt because people didn't buy into the idea of testing.  It went bankrupt because in order to use this very good little in-office test, the office had to have CLIA certification, which most medical offices do not.  Many tests can be done in the office without CLIA certification (including the new rapid HIV test), but this test was not CLIA waived, and, was therefore, not able to be used by many offices.  The test may come back with new funding in the future.  Also, the company, Diagnology, was a small company from Belfast, Ireland, and did not have the major funding required.

It is true that we do not know the location of an infection by a blood test, but we do know that greater than 93% (by culture) of those who test positive for HSV 2 in one study, shed virus from the genitalia.

And yes, the tests are not perfect, but on the ASHA website, the statistics quoted about the sensitivity and specificity (which come from the CDC study) of the IgG by Focus TEch are very different than those you quote.  Just because a test is not perfect does not mean we should not use it.  Pap smears are not perfect, but we do them because they save lives.  Mammograms are not perfect, but they also save lives.  Herpes blood tests are not perfect, but they are pretty damn good, and knowing one is infected will allow a person to intervene to reduce transmission.  

You have a lot of misinformation that you are sharing with the world on the internet.  I really wish you would re-read your references more carefully, and when you quote your opinions, give references so that we can all see what you are talking about, and then evaluate its credability.

Terri Warren
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Avatar_n_tn
TERRI WARREN AND ALL. OHH I KNOW ANNA WALD AND ALL ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON PHILOSPHY ON HSV. ALL ABOUT THE HYSTERIA. PLEASE PROVIDE ALL THE INFO NOT JUST THE SCARE TACTIC ****.

National Network of STD/HIV Prevention Training Centers
Herpes Simplex Virus
January 2003


HERE IS MORE REFERANCE FOR YOU ALL!

"The risk of sexual transmission is difficult to quantify, but is estimated at 10% per
year in recent studies of monogamous heterosexual couples with discordant HSV serum antibody status."

"Asymptomatic infection:
a) Serum antibody is present:
b) There is no known history of clinical outbreaks.
c) Up to two-thirds of patients with identified asymptomatic HSV-2 infection can be taught to recognize clinical signs and symptoms of genital herpes."


"Potential uses of new serological tests:
a) Diagnosing recurrent genital lesions or atypical genitourinary symptoms.
b) Counseling couples in which one of the pair has genital herpes and the
other does not know or is unsure. This might be particularly valuable in
planning pregnancy or pregnant couples.
c) Screening in selected high-risk populations such as in STD clinics. Costbenefit
analyses have not been performed comparing the costs of the
tests vs. the savings resulting from preventing further cases. While
serologic assays from HSV-2 should be available for persons who request
them, screening for HSV-1 or HSV-2 infection in the general population is
not indicated.....Asymptomatic viral
shedding is more frequent in genital HSV-2 infection than in genital HSV-1
infection, and is most frequent in the first 12 months after acquisition of
HSV-2."


Yes people with SMI have a higher rate of STD's than the normal population. This is due partially to their illness, socio economic status and health care availability.

regards

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Avatar_n_tn
Hi,
I did happen to read that article.  I guess the only real difference between the two is location.  I remember the day my doctor called me w/ the results of my culture back in 1997.  He said to me "Good news, it's HSV1."   I was like, good news??  are u crazy?? I just felt like I was dying for the past two weeks and he's saying that.  Good news would have been something like, it's not herpes, you have infected hair follicles or something.  but no such luck.  But back then I honestly didnt think herpes could be passed oral to genitals.  I had a very rude awakening.  The one question that still lingers in mind is that I have read posts that say 60-80 percent of the population have antibodies to HSV1, which offers them some protection from getting in genitally or orally from someone else, but thinking back to when I was younger, I remember having cold sores once in a while, not often, but once in while, which would lead me to assume that I had antibodies to HSV1 years before I was infected the other way.  so my question is, if it's true that the antibodies protect you, how did I get infected down there??
I'm lost.
Pan
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Avatar_n_tn
You said:

"Yes people with SMI have a higher rate of STD's than the normal population. This is due partially to their illness, socio economic status and health care availability."

I know you were NOT trying to imply that only certain "types" of people get stds.

The only hysteria surrounding this std comes from health care professionals that do their best to sweep the issue under the rug and pretend that it doesn't exist.

Angela




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Avatar_n_tn
QUESTION. The Herpes Select test-is it accurate if you wait a year after possible exposure?  What if you are on steroids or have a compromised immune system?  I have no visiable symptom-with the exception of a small red area on the head of the penis that is very sensitive, yet hard to see.
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A related discussion, i have what look likes a pimple on my penis was started.
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