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.
Confused Positive High HSV 2 results with partners negative
Have been faithful with husband for past 10 years, recently separated for two month. During that time I slept with one gentlemen. Husband and I got back together and decided to both get STD and HSV/HIV tested since we had been with someone else. As a surprise to me I tested IGG HSV 1 - negative (0.91) and IGG HSV 2 - positive 4.46 , also, I tested IGM < 1:10 (negative i am assuming) and HSV 2 IGM antibodies 1:100 ( results say "High" ). When my doctor called to tell me the results she said, you do indeed have HSV 2 and you have just recently contracted it. Given you are taught to trust you Dr. I immediately felt sick that I had contracted this virus and would now be bringing this back into my marriage. I called the gentlemen that I had sexual relations with and he was shocked that he could have passed this to me. He said he had never had any symptoms but agreed to get tested. I told my husband immediately ( thinking by small chance it wasn't a new infection like the Dr. stated and maybe I had contracted from him although he has never had signs either). Long story short, my husband tested negative for HSV 1 and 2. The partner while separated tested positive for 1 and negative for 2. We have all had the same Herpes Select IGG specific tests. I have copies of both my husbands test and partners tests and I am just at a loss? I have also never had any symptoms. My results seem too high to be a false positive but I don't want to take precautions with my husband of ten years if they are unnecessary. Should the guys retest? I am not quite sure what to do from here. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
herpes igm testing is greatly flawed testing. we don't recommend it be done on adults for the purpose of diagnosing herpes. the provider who thought that you had to have recently contracted hsv2 because of a + igm was wrong in their advice. There is a high false positive rate with igm testing so you can't assume that it was a recently acquired infection due to it. encourage your provider to update their herpes testing knowledge to better serve their patients ( and avoid malpractice lawsuits ).
could you have had hsv2 prior to meeting hubby and just never knew it? indeed you could have. you'll need to check to see if you were ever even ever tested for it before this or not.
since you and hubby both had recent encounters with others, make sure all your testing was done a the proper times. you needed to have waited at least 1 week after you had last had sex with someone for testing for gonorrhea, chlamydia, ngu and trich. 6 weeks for syphilis testing. 3 months for herpes , hepatitis and hiv testing. we don't have tests for hpv to cover that base.
so what do you do now? well as you already know, it's not likely to be a false positive but following up with a herpes WB blood test, might be helpful just for peace of mind. Even though your other partner also tested negative for herpes, I'd just err on the side of caution and wait a few more months before seeking it out if you feel you want to get it done.
so what is the real risk to hubby if indeed you've had hsv2 all this time and never knew it? Well as you already know from personal experience, the risk of transmission is overall fairly low. if you two did nothing but avoid sex anytime anything was going on genitally with you, he'd be 96% likely each year NOT to contract hsv2 from you. if you take daily suppressive therapy and use condoms in addition to that, he'd be 99% likely each year not to contract hsv2 from you. totally up to the two of you what precautions you want to take together.
Thank you so much for you detailed response! Before I answer more I want you to know how grateful I am to you and the time you sacrifice to volunteer educating others on this issue ( I know many others on this board feel the same way as it is scary how misinformed the MD's are on this issue. I go to a leading OBGYN in town and am surprised she is not aware of the IGM misdiagnoses data). Is there a foundation and/or program I can donate too on your behalf? I would certainly like to give back. I have good health insurance but am always concerned about those less fortunate than myself. It is people like you that give me hope young men and women will have the access, answers and support to care they need.
To Answers your questions and ask a few follow up questions:
1. I certainly could have contracted it prior to meeting my husband. I was in about 5 sexual relationships (all lasting a year or so starting in high school through college,serial monogamy for a decade) before my husband.
2. I still find it odd that I have never had any symptoms. I also never remember any relationship having any sores, bumps, symptoms, as I have done the whole...who could have given it to me routine? why didnt i pass it to others and see symptoms on someone if it old? That does not mean I have not contracted it, I am assuming I obviously did...I just find it odd I have never seen anyone with symptoms. That said, have you ever heard of someone testing 4.46 or higher and having a WB confirm a false positive? If there is a chance, even if very slim one, I would then go forward and have the WB test to put my doubt to rest. If you have never, in all your experience seen a result this high turn out false, than I will pass on the extra test :). I will add something I thought was odd about my results. My blood was drawn once at the same location for IGM and IGG tests, yet my results for IGM say there were done at Lab Corp in Tampa, FL and my IGG results say they were completed at a Lab in Burlington, NC. I am assuming they ship blood for different tests to different labs but I did think it was odd considering the tests title was the same on both reports stating IGM herpes and IGG Herpes select.
3. I am still confused on what precaution steps to take. Here is why. you say that if we do nothing but avoid sex when anything is going on gentially its 96%.....however, I literally have ZERO symptoms. none. so what is the risk if you are in contagious stage? i am assuming i would have to assume I was contagious at all times since I have no physical indicators, right? my temperature, anything? my guess is that is is still low or I would have already passed this to my hubby long ago. Is there any data on this, or have there been any studies on passage rate during asymptomatic outbreaks?
My hubby is fine not taking any precautions moving forward. I am not so sure, as we separated once and I would never want to negatively impact his potential dating/love/sexual life if for some reason our reconciliation does not work out. Thus, I am wondering how with no symptoms I can minimize the risk to him.
if you'd like to donate, www.ashastd.org is an easy way to do so. I also volunteer my time there as does Terri Warren, Dr Hook and Dr Handsfield - the 3 std/herpes experts here on medhelp. it's an organization that is trustworthy and we are all involved in it.
In one study of folks who tested + for hsv2 but swore they had never had a symptom of it, once they had proper education on what to look for, 80% of them were able to start recognizing the signs of recurrences of the virus. Don't be surprised if at some point, that happens to you too. About 20% of folks though are asymptomatic and that certainly can be you too. Unfortunately being asymptomatic though doesn't make the virus any less contagious or decrease the risk of transmission.
Like I said, you and hubby already know that by not doing much of anything ( I"m sure whenever things weren't "right" down yonder you avoided sex anyways like most of us do ), you've kept him negative all these years. if you want to do something more to lower his risk, consider daily suppressive therapy with valtrex.
is it worth getting a WB? Well it's a low chance of being a false positive but as I said, sometimes it's well worth the 2nd test for the peace of mind.
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