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Interpretation of igG 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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Interpretation of igG results

Hi Doctor,

I'd like to understand the results of this test, especially in regards to what the numerical result indicates about the timeframe of infection.

HSV Type 2 -Specific Ab IgG    6.5  High

Negative <0.9
Equivocal 0.9 - 1.0
Positive > or + 1.1

A notation on the lab results indicates that 'equivocal may suggest early infection'.  However, I'm being told by a healthcare practitioner that a reading as exceptionally high as 6.5 indicates that the exposure has happened for the first time within the past 4 months or less (and that over time the reading will drop substantially as the body maintains a lower level of IgG antibodies to the virus).  

Please interpret this reading of 6.5, especially in regards to an estimate for timeframe from exposure (repeated or multiple or initial) to the virus.   Also, would a reading of 6.5 arise again, or is it only this high after an initial exposure?  In essence I'm trying to understand the probability that a reading this high 1) indicates an initial exposure and 2) the timeframe since initial exposure that normally accompanies a reading of 6.5.

Thank you!
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You have HSV-2, unquestionably.  But your doc is wrong about the strength of the positive result. Yours is not 'exceptionally high', and the number says nothing at all about the duration of your infection.  It could be anywhere from 6 weeks to many years.  Your numerical result might vary over time, up or down, if you are ever retested--but there will never be any point in retesting.  Once positive, always positive; and any change in the number will provide any useful information that you don't already know.

Now the important thing is to be on the lookout for symptoms.  About 2/3 of people who didn't know they were infected, but who have positive blood tests, come to recognize typical (but mild) symptoms that they didn't notice before.  Most of them notice such symptoms within 3 months.  Avoiding sex when you have such symptoms can help protect your uninfected sex partners.

Good luck--  HHH, MD
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Thank you so much for your expertise and guidance, Doctor.
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