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IgM question
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IgM question

Terri:
I had an unprotected heterosexual encounter on May 11th of this year, then a protected vaginal encounter on May 23 (not protected orally), and a vaginally protected but orally unprotected encounter on June 18.  These were 3 different girls.  On June 27, I noticed burning in my urination (I was out of the country) and went to a local doctor.  He diagnosed me with a urinary tract infection, and gave me antibiotics for it.  I had some itching and post-toilet burning in the rectal area.  The burning during urination went away, as did the burning feeling in my skin around the genitals.
On July 16, I had an std screen.  All negative.  HSV Type I and Type 2 IgG's came up negative.  But the IgM registered a .94 equivocal.  I took a second test for IgG and IgM on August 12, and the results were IgG negative for HSV 1 and 2, but this time the IgM went up to 1.2.  The doctor told me to consider myself diagnosed for herpes, and that he assumed it was type 2, based on having sex with various women.  
I realize that there is some controversy surrounding IgM testing, and that some medical professionals advise to ignore it out of hand.  I just can't do that so easily.  I have never had cold sores either.  So I don't think it's a cross reaction.  But I did have chicken pox as a kid.  I realize that 3 months has passed since the May 11 encounter on the day of my last test (August 12), but that the the June 18 encounter isn't quite 8 weeks.  I wonder about my seroconversion rate too.  HHH says that most people seroconvert much faster than 3 months.  The only thing I can do is wait a few more months and re-take IgG's. I've had no outbreaks or lesions, but my lower back hurts and my glands in the groin area are tender.I want to know two things from you, please:
1. What do you make of these results?
2. How does one explain the movement from .94 to 1.2 in the IgM?  One would think the IgM would have spiked early and moved downward.
Perhaps you can give me some hope....
Tags: igm
55646_tn?1263664409
Controversy is putting it mildly.  In my experience the IgM test is completely useless and very  often wrong.  I can't make anything of these results, and neither should you.  The difference between the two numbers is meaningless as both are compared to a control value which will vary from run to run.  

Hunter Handsfield is correct - it is too soon to test with any accuracy.  By three weeks from the experience that puts someone at risk, 50% will be positive, by 6 weeks, about 70%.  You've got some time to wait and that will be difficult, but rely ONLY on the IgG test, and ignore the IgM test.  

Terri
6 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you, Terri.

I currently feel a lot of pain and tenderness in my inguinal glands and in my lower back. My temperature seems to fluctuate also. I have mild but very isolated pain in individual areas of my legs.

I have not had any outbreaks, and have checked myself thoroughly. Not a single lesion. Additionally, none o the women I slept with has reported any outbreaks to me. ( I've not had sex nor any form of sexual contact since becoming concerned about my status.)

What do you make of the tender and painful inguinal glands and lower back? There feels like there is pressure between my belly button and penis too. This is what gives me such concern about the IgM being correct.

Are you saying there is something akin to a possibility aim still negative for HSV? Please help me make sense of what is going on in my body,
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Avatar_m_tn
Can you shed some light on my last question, please? My mind is really unsettled.
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55646_tn?1263664409
I can't say what is going on with your body, but I can tell you that the IgM is not a good test, and it has many false positives, in my experience.  I can't tell you that it is wrong every time, because it isn't, but it often is.

You will have to wait 4 months from the exposure for an accurate IgG test to know for sure if you do or don't have HSV 2.

Terri
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Avatar_m_tn
Terri:

Your assessment regarding the IgM appears to be right. I retested 14 weeks post sexual encounter, though this time IgG only, and came up negative. I have had 3 negative IgG tests (though the first one was only 4-5 weeks out), one equivocal IgM and one IgM positive at 1.2 on the index. Given that 14 weeks had passed, no symptoms occurred, and the IgG is still negative at 14 weeks (I have a normally functioning immune system), that really corroborates your statement about the IgM being fairly useless and often mentally harmful. Thank you for all you do help shine a light on a subject about which many of us are scared and in the dark.
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55646_tn?1263664409
You're most welcome.

Terri
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Terri Warren, RN, Adult Nurse Pr...Blank
Westover Heights Clinic
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