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Need help figuring out lab results
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Need help figuring out lab results

Hello,
Can you help me decipher what this means?
I was tested in late June for HSV.  I came back with the following blood work results:
HSV Type 2 Specific Ab, IgG = negative with a 1.09)

I freaked out when I found out I had HSV-1.  I get maybe a cold sore once a year.  But, never knew the connection the herpes.  I asked that I be put on valtrex daily.  Not knowing that this was unnecessary.

Then, around mid-august I had vaginal itching and I thought it was a yeast infection.  One area I scratched so badly, I made it bleed.  My doctor cultured me for everything.  Out of caution, because it didn't look like herpes, she cultured the area I had scratched. All tests came back negative for yeast, BV, etc.  BUT, the herpes culture came back with the following:

"Culture positive for HSV.  Typing of this isolate was not possible.  The sensitivity of the ELVIS culture system now used in the primary culture is higher than the sensitivity of the monoclonal antibody reagants used for typing.  The specimen was recultured but due to the low viral titer, we were unable to reisolate the virus for typing.

Data from our validation studies indicates that these low titer specimens represent less than 1% of the Herpes-positive specimens, and that in many instances the specimen would have been negative by the conventional method."

My doctor said I could have given myself genital HSV-1 by touching a cold sore and then going to the bathroom.  Additionally, I was in a long term, monogamous relationship that ended in May ... perhaps I gave him HSV-1 genital through oral sex and he gave me HSV-1 genital via sex?  He was tested before we became sexually intimate and was not positive for any STD.  

Should I presume I have HSV-1 genital as well as HSV-1 oral?  

55646_tn?1263664409
Thanks for the clarifications.
Now let me ask you a few questions.  You are certain that you get cold sores? These are on the outside of your mouth, not canker sores inside the mouth.

Enough time has passed for an accurate response on the antibody test, so I think you can rule out HSV 2 with a good deal of certainty.  

The culture results are somewhat more concerning.  It is hard to know what to make of it, but if I had to decide what it meant, I would say it is likely positive.  Now what is going on there?  It would be very unusual for someone to have HSV 1 in one location and then transfer it to another place on your body.  That's why I'm asking you if you are certain these are cold sores.  Can you help me with that concern?

Terri
5 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
I'm sorry, I accidentally erase the blood work results on my HSV-1 test:
HSV Type 1 Specific AB, IgG = positive with a 1.55 result
(positive results are >1.09)

They called this 1.55 "high"

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Avatar_m_tn
Sorry, just read my post and realized that the blood work numbers for HSV-2 were unclear.

The blood work for HSV-2 came back negative:
HSV 2 IgG <0.91

The blood work for HSV-1 came back positive with:
HSV 1 IgG 1.55

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Avatar_m_tn
Hi Terri,
Thanks for your insight. Yes, I have had a cold sore -- on my outer lip in the corner of my mouth.  I rarely get them, though.  And, until the positive HSV-1 result, I didn't know it's considered herpes.  

And yes, I also get canker sores inside my mouth. I get them due to stress, etc.  Do you think, the fact that I had been on daily valtrex for a few weeks before the culture affecting the results -- meaning, it cause the "low viral titer?"

I suppose I could have given my ex-boyfriend oral sex when I had a cold sore and then via genital sex, he gave HSV-1 genital back to me?

With such an ambiguous lab result (it's like telling someone you're half pregnant), I'm not sure what to tell the current guy I've been dating. Can you provide me with any advice?  We are not sexually active yet.  But were we to, we would practice safe sex.  I am going to be monitoring my genital area closely and if there are any signs, go back in for another culture.  And, abstain from sex.

Thanks for any additional feedback you can provide!
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi Terrie,
Was wondering if you had any more insight for me?  The more I read the nebulous lab result the more I think it may have been picking up a trace of HSV-1. But I guess the only way to fully confirm is to go back for another blood test?  The last time I had sex was May 25th with my now ex-boyfriend (of one and a half years). The first herpes screening blood test (IgG) was done on June 29th and it came back negative for HSV-2 but positive for HSV-1 (1.55).  Thoughts?

Thanks!
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