This forum is an un-mediated, patient-to-patient forum for questions and support regarding herpes issues such as: Herpes symptoms and treatments, causes, diagnosis, and herpes in men, tests, telling your spouse or partner.
Here's something I'm having problems understanding- asymptomatic herpes....How can a male be infected with genital herpes and not know it? I mean, from chat forums and other sites, it seems that if you had herpes, you would know. In fact it's one of the most painful experiences for many. Seriously, how could you really not know??? And how can someone possibly suppress an outbreak for years and years? Sounds like BS and a way for cheating husbands to explain giving their wives herpes, "Baby i promise i wasn't cheating, i probably got herpes years ago and didn't know it!"
If you have hsv2, you're body is going to react to and immediately create antibodies to defend against the foreign virus. So how can you never be exposed to herpes, contract the virus, and then supress it for years and years? Wouldn't something foreign in your body FOR THE FIRST time cause a reaction? Wouldn't SOMETHING happen? Or is it really possible to "mistake" herpes for something else lol...or is it possible that the infection is so mild you don't even notice...a penis is pretty bare. plus, it's super sensitive....so something like herpes shouldn't be hard to miss, right??
Well, in some cases, it's just not that simple. It seems like it should be, but it's just not.
I have been with my husband for 17 years, in that time, I have only been with him. In August of 08 I had an outbreak that my Dr and I thought was shingles, I mean, I have never been unfaithful to my husband so why would I think it would be anything else, right? Well, my Dr did a PCR culture for shingles and one for Herpes. Imagine my surprize when she told me it was positive for HSV2!
My husband has been tested 3 times since then and he is negative... I didn't get it from him. Fortunately, I didn't give it to him either.
I was married to a man that did fool around on me before and he would have to be the source because I wasn't with anyone else after I left my first husband until I got together with the man I am now married to.
There are a couple of great resources to get information about HSV.
www.ashastd.org and www.westoverheights.com
You can get a copy of the Herpes handbook which is full of information. You can download it from the westover heights site.
I hope this was helpful.
We used to think that people with herpes always got big painful blisters that they couldn't miss.
Then we got better testing, and realized that about 10% get really bad symptoms, and the rest either get minor symptoms or no symptoms. Since 90% don't know they have it, the people you will most likely meet on the internet are the ones who are having the more classic symptoms. The others are either not bothered by herpes and are just living life or they don't know they have it.
But it seems like testing is actually still very ambiguous, considering the discrepancies between low and high IGG scores when using certain serological tests
So, it's like even MORE people are uneccessarily freaking out about their test results...So how do you explain low positive igg scores? cross-reactivity?....hmm..
Even the WB produces false positive/negative results....
I'm still trying to figure all this out....there's a difference between what's realistic and what is embellished. 1 in 4 people really have genital herpes?? what kind of sample are they using?? please....help me believe, cause right now, i feel like all these statistics and "facts" seem like figures fabricated and exaggerated to make people who DO in fact have herpes feel less alienated.
yea i also do not understand how they came up with that statistic if hardly anyone knows they have it??? and its true, when my doctor told me 1 in 4 women it made me think of everyone i know and how many of them must have it and it made me feel a little better, but now im skeptical. Also, i come from a small town, and my doctor told me that there are more people my age with herpes that "i can even begin to imagine". so ya i dunno!
The figures come from many sources - not just 1 that could be over exaggerated. One source in the US is the NHANES studies done by the US gov't ( they do not use the WB or herpeselect , they use a currently unavailable publically hsv test ). They do them yearly and then publish the results now I think every 2-4 years. If you go to pubmed.gov, you can find TONS of studies that show the prevelance of herpes in them, some are just of specific populations like college age students, some of them are from std clinics, some from ob/gyn clinics, just males etc. This is a link to one of my favorite studies - it's nicknamed the "but I don't see herpes in my clinic" study - http://www.gsk.com/press_archive/press2003/press_07282003.htm . The argument before this large study wa s that doctor's in "normal" clinics didn't have a need to screen for herpes because only folks who went to std clinics were going to be infected because they are leading high risk lifestyles to put them at risk. This was a large study that was well done that showed that the rate of infection in otherwise considered low risk populations was the same as the current at that time NHANES study showed hsv2 prevelance to be. It really was a landmark study because it was in normal family practice and ob/gyn clinics that weren't in big cities.
I also just wanted to add my own story too about the how can you be infected and not know it. Well I had no idea the first year I had genital herpes. I had symptoms but didn't recognize them as herpes - single pimples 2x total that as I recall, really didn't bother me much unless I touched them. I had no idea I had genital herpes until I passed it onto a partner. It wasn't until over a year later when I had a "classic" ob that confirmed that indeed I really did have it. My story and dumbfounded's are far more common than anyone realizes. One study done on folks who tested + for hsv2 but didn't think they had ever had symptoms showed that with proper education, afterwards 80% of them were able to start recognizing the signs of recurrences. It wasn' t that suddenly they were having them, it's just that they had never realized before that herpes could present as anything other than very painful and obvious blisters.
As far as the testing we currently offer , yes it isn't 100% accurate but then again, no test is. If you walked into your doctor's office today looking healthy and said you felt great and some routine yearly blood work showed that you were severely anemic, the first thing they would do is to repeat the blood test to confirm it - not admit you to the hospital for a blood transfusion. What we encourage folks who test with low positives and have never had any symptoms of genital herpes that they can recall to do is to confirm their testing. A doctor would never diagnose syphilis or hiv based on 1 test ( probably not hepatitis either ) so it has to be standard practice to do the same with hsv2 - confirm all suspicious +'s with additional testing. It's a message that HHH, EWH, jess and myself especially have been preaching for years now on medhelp.
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