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.
After experiencing symptoms and going to my gyno, my HSV2 culture came back positive but the blood test came back negative, obviously because I had not yet produced enough antibodies for the test to be considered positive. I was a .67. Why is it that any number below a .98 is considered negative? If you have ANY antibodies doesnt this mean that you have been exposed and therefore have HSV2? I think that this concept is a little strange and that any number besides a 0 should be considered positive. If people are tested for HSV and are told that they are "negative" just because they had a low antibody count they could go on thinking that they are safe to have unprotected sex and possibly spread the virus.
I have come to terms with the fact that I have HSV2 and know that it is sort of useless to try to understand who had given it to me, but have a question about the possible incubation periods. I had unprotected sex with Person A, a now ex-boyfriend who I have been sleeping with for years, for the last time on 4/24. After breaking up, I slept with Person B (regrettably unprotected) on 5/19. On 5/21 I started to feel as if I had a labial tear and wrote it off as pain from the sex on 5/19. On 5/24 there were visible spots and I went to the doctor where I was told just by him looking at it that it was probably herpes. He prescribed Valtrex and took a culture, which came back positive as I have already mentioned.
I brought it to Person B's attention that I had been experiencing symptoms and that I had been tested and he as well had a blood test done. A week later he notified me that his test came back negative. Is it possible that it took that long (4/24) for me to experience my first outbreak and it really isnt Person B? Ive read that the average incubation period is 2-10 days. If it was Person A who had given it to me, wouldn't I have had an outbreak sooner?
A positive culture with a negative blood test usually indicates that you contracted it in the last 3-4 months. You should pursue a new blood test within 1-2 month to check if your blood test will then be positive, meaning that it's a confirmed recent infection.
As for trying to pinpoint the source of your infection, it'll probably be a tough task unless you ask both partners to get tested specifically for herpes and actually see their results. Many people believe they got tested for herpes but it turns out they only had the usual STD screening, that does not include herpes I and II IgG. It would be better if both partners get tested 3-4 months after the encounter, because it might be a recent infection for them too.
As for the incubation period, it's actually 2-20, usually no longer than 3 weeks. But when we talk about incubation period we're talking about the time that it takes to show initial infection symptoms - such as multiple, bilateral sores. Many people don't experience such symptoms and might only notice them during a recurrent outbreak, which is usually milder. Makes sense? But as I said above, a positive culture and a negative blood test usually indicates that this is a new infection for you.
Also: the titers in antibody test don't necessarily mean you were "exposed" to a certain virus. For instance, my last HSV2 test was 0.58. I had a lot of blood tests for HSV2 that yielded similar results over the years. Yet, there's no evidence I carry HSV2, only HSV1 (results over 1.1).
Such blood test will very rarely yield a zero result. It has to do with the chemistry of the test. So you're test is negative for now apparently because not enough time has passed for you to build IgG antibodies. But as you antibody response solidifies, the test will most probably yield an above 1.1 result.
During the "window period" of the test (it takes 3-4 months for antibodies to rise), of course people might get false-negative results, such as yours. It's a flaw, but there's nothing to be done about it. It's a limitation of this test.
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