STDs Expert Forum
HSV 2 Test Results
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The STD Forum is intended only for questions and support pertaining to sexually transmitted diseases other than HIV/AIDS, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, human papillomavirus, genital warts, trichomonas, other vaginal infections, nongonoccal urethritis (NGU), cervicitis, molluscum contagiosum, chancroid, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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HSV 2 Test Results

I will try and keep this short.  I am a male in my mid-twenties, healthy.  I had been dating my GF for about 6 months (having unprotected sex) when we both decided to get tested  in June last year. I came back HSV 2 positive (Type I: 0.29 Type II: 2.19, believe it was HerpeSelect).  She came back negative for both.   I have not have or can remember any symptoms in the past.  After discussion. we decided together that we would continue our sex life (2-3 times a week, sometimes more), and continued to have unprotected sex.  Approximately a year later, with no symptoms (I was very attentive to any changes/conditions in gential (genital) region) I got a Herpeselect test again to confirm first test result:  HSVI: Negative (didn't get a exact number), HSVII: 1.93.  She was again negative for both.  Question:

1.  I have assumed all along that I have HSV2, but my numbers are in the potential false positive range (1.0-3.5).  What are the chances of two false positive results?

2.  Is it possible to have no initial or reoccuring outbreaks but have asymptomatic shedding?

3. What causes false positives?

4.  Would you recommend a WB test to definitely confirm results?  Is it worth it?  

Thanks a lot for all the info.

Tags: test, negative
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I'll go straight to your questions.

1) Most false positives occur in people with positive HSV-1 results.  In people without HSV-1 antibody, any HSV-2 result above 1.1 is true positive.  You are infected with HSV-2.

2) Yes, indeed.  You should assume you have periods of asymptomatic shedding of HSV-2, regardless of having never had symptoms.

3) The biological and/or technological reasons for false positive HSV-2 results are not fully understood, certainly not by me.  But this is irrelevant to your situation.

4) There is no reason for Western blot.

Best wishes--- HHH, MD
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