Herpes Expert Forum
Should i get a herpes blood test?
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Should i get a herpes blood test?

Hi,
So I had unprotected sex a handful of times with a guy I was seeing for about a year. He had a high number of sex partners before me, so I was very concerned about herpes, but never had any symptoms. About 8 weeks after the last time I slept with him, I experienced some ingrown hairs that I was concerned could actually be herpes. They didn't itch, weren't red, just were hard bumps that I plucked at so much that they kinda swelled. Anyway, my doctor visually examined and said there was nothing even to swab for a test and told me it was not herpes. He suggested Tend Skin, and I used that and several days later the two bumps seemed to subside and heal. A month after that I experienced a different kind of bump on my bikini line, and again it disappeared after a couple days with no itching or redness. But my fear is that I have such mild herpes that maybe I am not having classic symptoms. It seems like a strange coincidence that out of nowhere I'm all of a sudden having three ingrown hairs. I am considering having a blood test done, because the stress is finally starting to get to me. What kind of test should i do? I know Western Blot is the gold standard, but is Ig antibody test useful at all in my situation (that is the kind offered at the testing clinics near me)?
Thanks.
55646_tn?1263664409
The bumps are resolving very quickly for herpes.  Usually herpes lasts anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks.  It sounds like a couple of yours resolved overnight?

Have you ever had a baseline herpes antibody test?  Have you ever had a cold sore on your lip (not a canker sore)?  

These actually sound like very typical bumps that people get in the genital area and they are not herpes, but clearly, they are concerning for you.

If you test, I definitely think you can start with the typical IgG, yes.  
Having said that, your symptoms are not the typical herpes symptoms at all.
Terri
8 Comments
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Avatar_f_tn
I forgot to mention:

The second month, one of the two original places where the obumps on my labia flared up again. When I squeezed it, some clear,watery fluid and blood came out and the bump disappeared overnight. It was the longest lasting of the two ingrowns. The main reason this worried me is that herpes reoccurs in the same areas, right?  

The bumps were also fairly spread out:
the first two at different ends of the same labia (along the lip, not exactly inside, but not totally on the vulva).  
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Terri.

I did have a baseline herpes test about 2 years ago. I tested negative for both types. I've never had a cold sore.

The original two bumps did last for about 2-3 days, but the one on my bikini line did resolve in about 1 1/2 days. The bump that recurred on my labia definitely resolved overnight.

I think I'm going to take the IgG test, but my big concern is with false positives; I've read that a lot of people test in the grey zone, think they have herpes, and then find out later they didn't. Does this happen a lot?  

Thanks.
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55646_tn?1263664409
It happens, in my clinic, to 5.5% of the total number of people who test.  And if you get a low positive index value (1.1 to 3.5), it can be confirmed with a western blot.

Terri
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Terri. So now another couple of shave type bumps appeared on my bikini line. They're not anywhere near what I considered the original outbreak, but I never remember having had this much razor burn. One of the bumps was especially hard, red, and big, so I plucked the hair out of it and it went down overnight but also scabbed a bit (I plucked really, really hard and it turned brownish like there was a blood blister underneath). The scabbing scared me because it sounded a bit like herpes, and all this took place over about 3 days. All of the rest of the razor burn is pretty normal looking, it's just weird that I've had one or two of these larger red bump type things over the past 3 months.

I am probably going to get the test done. Thanks for the advice on false positives.
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55646_tn?1263664409
You're welcome.

Terri
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Terri! I have good news, and one more question. I had a swab test and a type specific blood test done. The swab test was negative and the blood test came back positive for oral herpes, negative for genital herpes. This test was taken at 14 weeks from my last possible exposure. Can I trust this test? I know some places say you can take up to 6 months to develop antibodies, and i may retest then, but for my peace of mind, how accurate would you qualify tests at this period? Thanks!
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55646_tn?1263664409
I think you can count on this result.  We say 16 weeks, but this is pretty darn close!  Good news.

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