I am a male in mid-20s. I had blood work done for HSV 1 and 2 (type-specific) antibody testing. I had no reason to do so. I just wanted to get checked out to soothe my conscious. My HSV 1 test came back strongly positive with a titer level of around 5. I have had cold sores for as long as i can remember, and I was expecting to test positive for HSV 1 antibodies. However, I never thought I had HSV 2. I have never exhibited any symptoms of genital herpes, or symptoms for any STD or genital irritation for that matter. Thus, I was expecting a negative result from my HSV 2 antibody testing. However, my results came back positive, yielding a very low 1.23 titer. From what my physician has told me, I have nothing to worry about. He said the threshold for positive HSV 2 antibodies is a titer of 1.1, and mine is just hardly above that. He said that, had we performed the test on any other day, I might even test negative for HSV 2 antibodies (i.e. below the 1.1 threshold).
So my question is twofold: 1) Could this be a false positive result for HSV 2? I read that there is sometimes a false positive relationship in men who test for a high titer of HSV 1 antibodies but a very low titer of HSV 2 antibodies. Is this true? And is this a possibility in my case?
My second question: I have never exhibited any symptoms of genital herpes, but is it possible that I may exhibit them in the future due to the presence of HSV 2 antibodies in my blood (assuming that I do not expose myself to anyone else with the HSV 2 virus hereafter)?
Also, do I need to inform my sexual partner? We use birth control so we do not use protection. Should I be legitimately worried about spreading the HSV 2 virus to my partner? Am I contagious even with such a low HSV 2 titer and no genital symptoms? I am well aware of the dangers of HSV 1 infection due to oral sex but I am only inquiring about HSV 2 genital contact.
yes indeed this is probably a false positive but you'll need further testing to confirm that.
has your regular partner ever been tested for herpes to know their status? this is well worth discussing together so you can find out. if your partner tests negative for hsv2, get a herpes WB at any point. if they test +, then wait a few months and repeat the test you just had done again to see what it shows.
I took your advice and ordered the Western Blot HSV I & II test from U. Washington, and the HSV II results came back negative!!! My HSV I was positive, but I was expecting that, as I have gotten cold sores since I was a young kid.
I just want to thank you and Dr. Handsfield for taking the time to address peoples' concerns over this forum. I could have gone a lifetime believing my false positive results from the antibody test, and I only have the two of you to thank for giving me advice on how to further investigate my test results.
I have learned an invaluable lesson about sexual responsibility. These have been some of the most nerve-racking and psychologically painful months of my entire life (wondering whether I was truly HSV II positive and awaiting my test results), and I never want to experience that kind of uncertainty and helplessness again. I hope others will read posts like this on this forum and feel compelled, as I do now and will forever, to practice safe sex at all times.
Thank you again for all of your help, Grace. Words cannot express my gratitude.
Copyright 1994-2016 MedHelp International. All rights reserved.
MedHelp is a division of Aptus Health.
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.