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Making my self sick over HSV 2 test
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Making my self sick over HSV 2 test

Hello Terri,

I am need of some serious answers.  I am a 34 year old female who just in November after a break up had a round of STD testing, which I do often as I do my best to practice safe sex and I test often.  My results all came back fine except for HSV 2....the first results came in at a 0.97 with the note from the lab that stated "test was not confirmed by repeat because problem developed during handling." This put me in to a tail spin as I was shocked that I had results that could be positive (equivocal at this point)  I retested 6 weeks later which brings us to yesterday when my doctor called me and said my number was 1.13 and I was positive for the antibodies for HSV 2 (IGG test)  I broke down and I am over the top stressed out.  

Here is where I am so confused.  1) I have never had any signs of herpes, no outbreaks nothing down there nothing 2) I have MS and stress has triggered flare ups often in my life (last one was just at Christmas and I had three days of IV steroids)  3) I just had major back surgery in September 2011 which I was so stressed about having and 4) I am in the process of a legal battle with an insurance company for wrongful termination of LTD benefits so again the stress I have been under for 3 years plus has been overwhelming to say the least and again never an outbreak...... I spoke with my primary yesterday who read me my results and he stated you have the antibodies but when I asked him do I have herpes he said no....I saw my social worker/conselor today and she said 100% I do not have herpes I have the antibodies yet I saw an OBGYN (with no bedside manner I may add, big jerk) and he said to me "its not black and white but you have herpes."  WTF sorry to be so blunt?  I am in shambles here, so stressed out, so upset and the medical field blows....I knew this from having MS for 13 years.  Please any answer would help!!
55646_tn?1263664409
OK, time to step back just a minute.  Your test result is a very low positive.  
When was the last time you had any sexual contact?  Very important question.  I'm guessing maybe November?  If yes, you may need to wait two more months to get an accurate answer.  Has your ex partner been tested for herpes?  Do you know if he would agree to be tested?

If it has been at least four months, then you can get an accurate test result now (don't know when you last had sex with him).  However, the ELISA test that you had done is not going to get you the answer that you need.  When our patients test positive in the low positive range as you have, we order the herpes western blot for confirmation.  

At your level of 1.13, the chances are 85% that you will confirm as NEGATIVE rather than positive, particularly if your HSV 1 test is positive.  

Let me know what more I can do to help you with this.

terri
14 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
OK, so I have involved him in this situation and the last time I had sex was in November.  He has not been tested yet but we are looking into clinics now due to his lack of health insurance.  My HSV 1 was negative?  So this is confusing me more now?  Due I still fall into the 85%? My results read HSV 1 IGM screen Negative, HSV 2 IGM screen Negative then it states HSV 2 IGG 1.13 and my first blood work was 0.97.  I am just so confused due to the lack of any break outs, my MS, flare up in December and IV steroids in December which was 7 days before my second draw.  Does any of this play into a possible false positive?  
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55646_tn?1263664409
There may be a slightly higher risk of this being a true positive since you don't have HSV 1 infection.  The IgM results are not useful.  

Terri
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Avatar_m_tn
I have an appt to be retested with my boyfriend coming up but I guess I am just so shocked that I may have this due to my health history and everything I have read?  How have I never had an outbreak??  I am and have been for a few years engrossed in the most stressful situations with a law suit, major back surgery in 2011 which now I have a rod, two screws and a cage at my L5-S1, I no longer work due to my MS ( have flare ups about two a year that really kick my butt) my fatigue been a major contributor on why I also don't work and I had a round of IV steroids 7 days before my second blood test (3000 mg IV methypredizone).  I also over the years have been on other meds that 100% have lowered my immune system.  I have all 5 factors that would lead to an out break yet I have NEVER, EVER had any signs or symptoms of herpes??   I m am so confused!!  I m just sick about this.....So since I don't have HSV 1 HSV 2 is possible?
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55646_tn?1263664409
And what test is being done to retest you?  If you do another ELISA,it is likely to be positive again and you'll never know the truth.  but the test needs to be a western blot, not the usual ELISA.  And you can't make an appointment for a western blot.  You either have to send for a test kit from the University or I can order it for you through the clinic.  

You've certainly had lots of immunosuppressive episodes.  But none of that changes the need to get a good confirmatory test, not another ELISA.

Terri
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Avatar_m_tn
YES, YES, YES!!! I will do what ever test is needed!  I am going to Planned Parenthood on Feb 2nd with my boyfriend; he doesn't have health insurance so we are in need of free or reduced services.  I m not sure if they use ELISA test but if I get WB asap then there may not be a need for another test, hopefully!  Can you provide me all the info I need to get WB test?  Where, when, how, how much, how long results take, etc??? I just need to figure this out and I have to say, whether this is just wishful thinking, I do not believe in my heart I have HSV 2.......but I guess the tests will tell me one way or another.  Thank you Terri for all your help and info, please let me know details on WB as soon as you can.  

And for a side note, I have ALWAYS been very proactive with STD testing and protecting myself, as I am sure many others have; getting tested 2 times a year at times to ensure I am safe, and what I have found out through this process is an STD test does NOT include herpes......WHAT??  This is unbelievable to me....no wonder so many go with out knowing! That needs to change!!
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55646_tn?1263664409
You can get the western blot in one of two ways:
1) contacting the University of Washington and having them send you a test kit.  Google HSV western blot UW.  Your provider would draw the blood and send it for you.
2) our clinic can order the test for you.  You would need to call and set up a brief phone consultation appointment and we will order the bloods drawn and transported at a lab in your town.

Planned Parenthood does the ELISA.  Honestly, in your situation, I would not bother at all to do this test AGAIN

Terri
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Avatar_m_tn
OK I would like to work through your clinic, can you provide me the phone number and I will do this asap.  Or is it more cost effective to call UW? Will this be done by a QUEST lab?  Can you tell me how much this might cost me, as this is a critical situation I have no choice, however I am on a fix income so I will have to figure something out.  
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55646_tn?1263664409
I'm not sure about the price, honestly, we don't get involved in that part of the process.  I'm thinking around 170$?

Terri
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Avatar_m_tn
OK that sounds fine, again can you provide me the clinic information? Name or number so I can look it up?
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Avatar_f_tn
I called the University of Washington Friday about the WB for HSV and was quoted $162.50. They do not bill out of state so I will have to send along a check.
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55646_tn?1263664409
Sorry I missed this.  You can call our clinic at 503-226-6678 and we can order the test for you and you can have the University of Washington send it to you directly for your health care provider to draw the blood and send it back.

(800) 713-5198.

Terri
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you Terri, I actually ended up talking to Sheryl on Jan 30th and our plan at that time was for me re test and my boyfriend to test and we did and I am happy to say he was negative and I too was negative for both HSV 1 was 0.11 and HSV 2 was 0.66!  I am going to test again in 3 months just for 200%but I feel so relieved that I tested negative.
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55646_tn?1263664409
Great news.  Glad you could talk to Sheryl

Terri
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