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.
I was wondering how long after exposure before antibodies to a HSV infection would appear on a blood test? I recently got a non type-specific HSV test done after noticing dry red skin on the tip of my penis. I have no pain, itching, or sores but the redness and flakey skin is certainly a new development. These symptoms developed about six weeks after I had unprotected sex and I immediately got the non type-specific test done. After reading some of the posts on this forum I realize now that I made a mistake by not getting a type specific test but I am trying to make sense of these results:
HSV I/II IgG 1.1 HIGH
HSV, IgM I/II Combination <0.91
I talked with the technician who drew my blood and she told me the test was inconclusive. She said, that even though 1.1 is technically positive it does not mean I have herpes. Should I order a type-specific test now or wait a few months and do it again? My symptoms do not exactly match herpes but I want to be sure. I have started dating a girl and have put off having sex out of fear of giving her an infection. She wants to know why I wont have sex with her but I don't want to tell her I might have herpes until I'm certain one way or another. Is six weeks enough time to develop antibodies? I am very confused, any help would be greatly appreciated!
In almost all cases, HSV antibodies are detectable through a blood test three months after exposure. Some people are different and can develop antibodies that are detectable within a few weeks, but to save money and to know for sure, I recommend that you wait three months after your last sexual encounter.
What you're describing doesn't sound at all like herpes, but people's symptoms vary. This sounds more like balanitis or lichen planus, which a dermatologist would easily be able to diagnose and treat. Regardless, I suggest you get another blood test to know your status for future reference. Having your symptoms appear six weeks after unprotected sex is extremely uncommon for a primary outbreak of herpes; usually your first outbreak occurs within 2-20 days after exposure. This really doesn't sound like herpes. You could have HSV-1 already orally, which over half of the population does, so it'd be a good idea to know your status.
your herpes non-specific testing is just barely positive. that said, you also tested far too early from your last encounter.
so what do you do? well first off, talk with your new partner and be ABSOLUTELY HONEST WITH HER!! Not having sex yet with a new partner won't kill either of you I assure you. use the time to get to know each other better as well as to be sexually responsible about both of your testings for all std's!! Let her know that your last partner was 6 weeks ago and you are still properly covering your bases with std testing. also let her know that you are under the care of your doctor for some genital symptoms that they think are just dry skin/irritation but you don't want to put her at potential risk ( or yourself ) by having sex before you have finished your std testing. she too will need to be sure she's been tested for the whole shebang at the proper times from her last partner too. be sure to talk about birth control and condom use too :)
continue to follow up on symptoms as needed. Odds are they aren't std related at all but best to follow up on testing at the proper times and to know what is going on.
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