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Shingles and HSV
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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.

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Shingles and HSV

I will provide further information once I get my test results in my hand. However, I have been told that I tested positive to exposure HSV2 and I have not had any symptoms or signs of it yet. I also have HSV1 with cold sores occurring every two years or so. Could the fact that I had shingles when I was a teenager encourage this result?
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Sorry for not being more clear.  Let me explain a little more.

The body makes an antibody which your test looks for in this case an IgG response.  If the antibody is found then you get a value associated with how sure the test is. Each body is different we all make antibodies at different levels and a measurable antibody for most people is 3 months (hence my saying 3 months will give an accurate test).  

In some people a test may show a false postive in a range.  These numbers while technically are positive would be a recommendation to get a comfirmatory testing such as the biokit or Western Blot HSV test.  The western blot is considered the gold standard for herpes testing.  This is sometimes seen with those that have HSV-1 already.

Because these things can and do happen we ask when the last time your sexual encounter was from when you got tested. In your case the testing isn't accurate because we don't know if this is the false positive or the true positive.  You have to wait 3 months for that testing to take place.  If you said it was 3 or more months ago it might be suggested by grace to get comfirmatory test taking.  If you test in say 3 months and your value is still in a low positive range the same suggestion may be made.  If the number increases outside of that low positive range then you may know that your body was building up antibodies.  

The numbers outside of that don't mean much.  The numbers won't show if the virus is active or dormant at all.  It's just an antibody reading.  Additionally we let grace do the reading on tests because she has been trained in reading those tests.  Though I know that the false positive range I don't have the knowledge she has.  

Also it would be advisable that you have your partner tested as well to know his own status.  Knowing his status will also aid you and us in telling you what steps to take next.  Chances are like I said before your "test for everything" wasn't a type specific hsv igg test.  Because it just isn't done that routine.  My thoughts are that because HSV won't kill you or damage anything important to you they don't test for it.  
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101028_tn?1348750963
I can best help you once you have your hsv2 igg results to post - e.g. hsv2 igg 3.9 or whatever they are.

hsv1 orally is known to cause false positives more so than herpes zoster does.

grace
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1624816_tn?1299619070
Thanks for your previous prompt response. I got my results in the mail today it reads: HSV2 / IGG / Herpeselect / AB / 2.75 / H / .00-.89 INDEX. It also states: A single positive result only indicates previous immunologic exposure and the level of antibody response may not be used to determine active infection or disease stage. The test should be repeated in 4-6 weeks when negative or equivocal results are obtained in suspected in early heroes simplex disease.

Please note that I have not had any visible symptoms or signs of HSV (anywhere on my body) since my last cold sore 4 months ago.

Questions:
1. Is it possible that HSV1 is a factor for this result (I've had it over 15 yrs).
2. What is the significance of the test score of 2.75? Is there a range?
2. Can you explain what they mean by: "may not be used to determine active infection or disease stage"
3. Either way, I have it and I can infect others, right?
4. Should I get retested? If so, how long should I wait?

Thanks, in advance, for your response.
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101028_tn?1348750963
how long has it been since you last had sex prior to testing?

do you have a regular partner?
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February 17 was the last time...with a relatively new...but regular partner. Test was taken on the 22nd. I slept with him three times within the past  2 months...1/15...2/5...2/17.
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101028_tn?1348750963
it was early for herpes testing.  has he been tested yet to know his own herpes status?
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1624816_tn?1299619070
Although I speak to him every day, I have not told him yet...waiting to see him. How does the "early for herpes testing" factor into this? Also, does Herpes show in pap smears?

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More...Since my husband's extramarital affair, during my yearly GYN exams, I've asked for a full STD screening -  I asked to be tested for everything. I'm not sure what this meant to my previous doctor who I have not luck in reaching to obtain my medical records from. But the GYN that I've been seeing for the past 3 years or so...did not test for everything as I asked. When obtaining my test results on the phone, they would just say "you didn't test positive for anything" or "your test results were fine" and they specified negative for HIV. I never asked for anything in writing because I thought I was tested for everything. I just found out four days ago that they did not test for everything...NEVER for HSV! Is this normal practice? If HSV is so common, why is it not tested for routinely? Is it because it would show up in a pap smear?

I'm still trying to obtain my records from the previous doctor (whom I did go to last year) to see if he tested for it. At least I will be able to narrow down the time frame in which I got the HSV.
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1174003_tn?1308164419
Herpes testing will be accurate after 3 months.  That number rising within the 3 months will change things but really we won't know until you test at 3 months.

Herpes isn't a part of routine STD testing.  Most doctors don't include it in the "everything".  We don't know why this is but my guess is because HSV isn't bad to your health overall most of them aren't concerned for it.  You have to ask for a type specific igg blood test usually.  As it is becoming more and more seen I think doctors are changing their ways a little.  Slowly though.

HSV won't show up in pap smears sadly.  

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1624816_tn?1299619070
What do you mean by accurate?What does the time window have to do with it?  Obviously I have herpes, right (eventhough I haven't had an outbreak)? What does the number mean - the difference between active infection or disease stage? A higher number? A lower number? Is it possible, based on what I have said so far, that this test is inaccurate?

If I contracted this early last year, when I was in a long- term relationship that I thought was monogomous, would I have had signs and/or symptoms already? It didn't show up in any "screen for everything" testing.

I am just doing my research. My doctor has been unavailable. Thanks for any information that you can give me. I need to be well informed so I can talk to my partner.
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1174003_tn?1308164419
Sorry for not being more clear.  Let me explain a little more.

The body makes an antibody which your test looks for in this case an IgG response.  If the antibody is found then you get a value associated with how sure the test is. Each body is different we all make antibodies at different levels and a measurable antibody for most people is 3 months (hence my saying 3 months will give an accurate test).  

In some people a test may show a false postive in a range.  These numbers while technically are positive would be a recommendation to get a comfirmatory testing such as the biokit or Western Blot HSV test.  The western blot is considered the gold standard for herpes testing.  This is sometimes seen with those that have HSV-1 already.

Because these things can and do happen we ask when the last time your sexual encounter was from when you got tested. In your case the testing isn't accurate because we don't know if this is the false positive or the true positive.  You have to wait 3 months for that testing to take place.  If you said it was 3 or more months ago it might be suggested by grace to get comfirmatory test taking.  If you test in say 3 months and your value is still in a low positive range the same suggestion may be made.  If the number increases outside of that low positive range then you may know that your body was building up antibodies.  

The numbers outside of that don't mean much.  The numbers won't show if the virus is active or dormant at all.  It's just an antibody reading.  Additionally we let grace do the reading on tests because she has been trained in reading those tests.  Though I know that the false positive range I don't have the knowledge she has.  

Also it would be advisable that you have your partner tested as well to know his own status.  Knowing his status will also aid you and us in telling you what steps to take next.  Chances are like I said before your "test for everything" wasn't a type specific hsv igg test.  Because it just isn't done that routine.  My thoughts are that because HSV won't kill you or damage anything important to you they don't test for it.  
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101028_tn?1348750963
Definitely it's time to talk about all of this with your new partner. Just be open and honest about all of it - you have recently tested + on the herpes blood test and you aren't sure at this point and time if it's a true positive or not. Let him know that he needs tested to see what his status is since odds are he's never been tested for herpes before to know his own status.  I know this is a new relationship for you but part of having a partner is for them to support you through troublesome times and this certainly is a time that you could use a shoulder to lean on right?

can a pap test detect herpes? Yes it can but only under certain conditions. You'd have to be having an active herpes recurrence on your cervix at the time of the pap test.  the odds of that occurring are pretty low in general. Also pap testing doesn't type your herpes infection as well as the way herpes is detected via pap testing isn't very accurate and has a decent false positive rate too.   A pap test only looks for abnormal cells on the cervix. Some of the newer pap tests also will test for vaginitis, chlamydia and gonorrhea but you have to ask which pap your doctor is using to know what is being covered when you go for a pap test. Also pap tests are only recommended every 3 years for most people and if you aren't in a long term monogamous relationship, you need to be seeking out std testing specifically in between pap tests.

why isn't herpes a part of routine std testing? many reasons -some of them financial, some of them avoidance, some of them undereducation and some of them just plain disbelief that their patients are the kind of people who get genital herpes.  Part of what the CDC has been pushing these last few years is that it's fine if you don't test your patients for herpes but make sure you are telling them that specifically.  Most people don't know that when you ask for std testing, you are only getting tested for 2 or 3 std's on average :(  

Unfortunately it will be a few months yet until you have confirmation of your herpes status. Meanwhile you and your partner should talk about this and certainly use condoms to help protect you both.

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The only question that has not had a response yet is:

If I contracted this early last year, when I was in a long- term relationship that I thought was monogomous, would I have had signs and/or symptoms already? Would infection last year have influenced a 'more positive' or 'accurate positive' result now?  It didn't show up in any "screen for everything" testing.

Oh, I just thought of something else... Could HSV2 show up on the front and/or outer portion of the thigh in the form of black & blue circular marks? (I believe I have a picture of it.) I ask this because the day after my last sexual encounter with my partner, I had these marks by the afternoon - and they remained on my leg (nowhere near my genitals) for about a week. There were no blisters, itching nor pain. I showed my GYN and she said I probably hit my leg on something and didn't remember.

I would like to thank you both for your responses, explanations & recommendations. I received this news on March 2nd and have been totally dysfunctional since. It will be a difficult three month wait. I'm driving myself crazy thinking that every little itch, ache or pain I feel - anywhere on my body - is herpes related.  I will talk to my partner when I see him - and will use this discussion thread during my conversation with him.
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1174003_tn?1308164419
Actually that question was answered.  You would have seen signs or symptoms.  But if you don't know what to look for and your inital outbreak you may have brushed it off because the outbreak was mild.  You may have thought something else was the cause.  Not every single person has a typical outbreak.  Most people do though.  If your LTR was last sexual encounter 3 months ago then possibly this could be a false positive.  But the challenge to this is that we recommend people wait from the 3 months of their last sexual encounter.  Some people take that long to seroconvert.  

HSV-2 will show up anywhere in the "boxer shorts" region.  This would be if you wore boxer shorts anywhere they touch you could have an outbreak.  

Herpes won't show up the next day from sex.  You may have had a nice workout during your encounter.  Plus herpes won't look like a bruise which is what you are describing.  

Believe me I know as I am sure many others will be able to relate to those feelings.  Just gotta relax and put your mind away.  If you get some painful/itchy blisters be seen.  Everything else don't overwork yourself.  Having yourself highly alert right now is going to make you more into everything going on down there.  Getting your partner tested should also help on your anxiety as well.  Once you get his results let us know.  As long as he has had no other partner than you for the last 3 months then we can go from there.  
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101028_tn?1348750963
you could be infected for 20 years and only have a hsv2 igg of 2.75. the actual numeric result doesn't help you figure out how long you've been infected.
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1624816_tn?1299619070
Thanks Again. Should I be taking any medications until I get tested again?
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no.  
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1624816_tn?1299619070
Can you believe I still have not been able to contact my doctor yet? I have to make an appointment to have a conversation with her - none available till next week. If I had not called the office for my test results, I would have found via a mailed letter that referred me to the CDC and other organizations. AND THEN if I wanted to meet with my doctor  - I should call the office. I feel abondoned (except for this forum). I had a horrible dream last night of my thighs getting blisters and boils and tree branches growing out of them!! I was so glad when I woke up.

On another note....

While I was showering today I felt a swollen lymph node that hurt a little in the crease of my right thigh. I know this is not a good sign. Does this validate my HSV2 test results?  Also, I've been experiencing PMS since about Feb. 20th with my period just starting a little today. Does the menstrual cycle affect the HSV2 or vice versa?
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101028_tn?1348750963
so your mind fused the ads for that new movie "beastly" with herpes? he he he

no, having a swollen lymph node doesn't mean you really do have hsv2. many, many things can cause lymph nodes to swell.

did you get a chance to talk to your partner yet?

no, herpes doesn't affect your period either.
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1624816_tn?1299619070
I haven't seen him to discuss it yet. I should have the opportunity to do so today.
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1624816_tn?1299619070
Well, I told him on Friday. He's going to see his doctor today...but I'm sure it will be at least a week before we know anything. He wasn't angry about the possibilities of having herpes (initially), he was angry that I waited a week to tell him especially since we had lunch one day and we speak every day...He feels I left him out to dry...so now trust is an issue...not the way to start a new relationship. Initially he thought if I told him sooner, he could have taken an antibiotic to 'clear it up'. Although he had heard of herpes, he had no idea that it cannot be eradicated from the body.  He asked me a few questions and after my responses he asked "What's the difference between this & HIV?" Not sure if my answer - it doesn't kill you nor does it create other illnesses within your body - helped much. He did his research in the weee hours of Saturday morning - and was pretty somber about it when we spoke in the morning.
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101028_tn?1348750963
I encourage you both to read the free herpes handbook at www.westoverheights.com as well as watch the free patient counseling video on the same site. both have terrific info for the both of you that is accurate and up to date :)
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1624816_tn?1299619070
Thanks for the recommendation...I will read it.

My partner went to his doctor yesterday and will get his results back on Friday. He asked his doctor many questions which were answered. He now understands how widespread it is - his doctor said 80% of the population has it and "its a way of life". Of course my partner is just pissed off at how the medical industry treats this matter so lightly. I'll let you know his status on Friday.

To update you...I had my initial outbreak - it started around the 6th/7th. I had aches on the inner thigh, felt fatigued and lethargic, swollen lymph node that hurt when touched, some genital itching. With all of that, I did not feel tingling nor saw any sign of blisters...until... A nurse friend of mine told me long ago that she put a little hydrogen peroxide on her partners penis to see if there would be any spots that "bubbled". So that's what I did on the 9th...I took a cotton ball with hydrogen peroxide and swiped some areas of my vagina...waited a minute...then there they were...a cluster of four small circular "holes" between the inner and outer labia. I've been looking for homeopathic/natural remedies for HSV and (not sure what you would say about this) read that apple cider vinegar stops the sores from progressing. I applied the apple cider vinegar to the "holes"...and they didn't get worse but looked like they started to heal within 36 hours. I saw my doctor yesterday who confirmed that I was tested for HSV2 using a type specific test - and she examined me and confirmed my outbreak, which she said was very mild. She prescribed valacyclovir for 2/day for 10 days and 1/day to keep it away :-/  I told my partner that my status was confirmed but I did not tell him I had an outbreak. He would prefer that I use homeopathic remedies, keep my immune system healthy and stay of prescription meds. Do you recommend any natural remedies or any websites?

Not sure what course our relationship will take after his results - he was initially angry about with holding information...will see what happens on Friday.
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101028_tn?1348750963
Still best to confirm your infection with additional testing. A visual diagnosis is wrong 1/3 of the time and you have a low positive hsv2 igg.  

your immune system has little to do with how often you'll have herpes recurrences.  it's more from genetics as well as some inflammatory processes in the body than immune system strength. there aren't any homeopathic remedies to recommend for reducing ob's and/or reducing transmission to a partner - we haven't found any that work yet.

you never, ever have to treat your herpes if you don't want to. just avoiding sex during obvious symptoms means a male partner is 96% likely each year NOT to contract hsv2 from you. At this point though you need to confirm your status as well as find out your partners status and go from there.
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Well the results are in and he is NEGATIVE. What are my next steps?
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1624816_tn?1299619070
Should I just lose hope that my initial test was a false positive? It was a type specific test although a low number 2.75. My blood was drawn on Feb. 22 - so my guess is it is really too soon to test again. I'm glad my partner is negative - we had intercourse three times since January with the last time being February 17th. Should he get retested? Since he is negative, I am a little hopeful that I had a false positive reading - even though I mentioned the symptoms I had late last week.

I thought I was getting past this initial shock period - but I'm obviously not.

Thanks for everything.
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101028_tn?1348750963
all you can do at this point is wait until enough time has passed to get your confirmatory testing and go from there.
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1624816_tn?1299619070
Well, I'm back with more questions. Can herpes 1 be transmitted through kissing? It is my understanding that when you have a cold sore it can be transmitted to the mouth and the genitals through oral sex. If you are not having a cold sore or outbreak can you still transmit through kissing...let's say in saliva? If so, what's the likelihood?  
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1174003_tn?1308164419
Really herpes is transmitted skin to skin contact.  As adults the only way we will get HSV-1 is through the intimate contact.  Yes there is about 18% of risk per year where the virus sheds without any visual symptoms.  

Saliva isn't the best method for it. Remember you have to have heat and fritction for the virus to take hold.  

Same thing genitally.  The risk with oral sex is a low risk.
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1624816_tn?1299619070
Hi Grace, In the March 15th comment, you stated that herpes recurrences is influenced by genetics. Can you explain?
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101028_tn?1348750963
there are certain genetic markers that are associated with whether you are likely to have obvious cold sores or not.

not sure what you want me to explain?
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1624816_tn?1299619070
I just didn't know that genetics had anything to do with outbreaks. I haven't read about that anywhere. Just seeking to understand.
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I read your post and well you mentioned your partner and you having sex 3 times and him being negative. Was it protected or unprotected sex?
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