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Test Results HSV 2
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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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Test Results HSV 2

I recently took a test for Herpes 2 - type specific, and recieved test results back as follows: HSV II G  3.47 H(1). This indicates positive infection for the virus - it was recommended however that a subsequesnt test be performed to indicate the timeframe of infection, and duration up to this point (whether the virus was recently contracted OR something I have had for a while). To this day I have had no symptoms, no outbreaks.
The second test performed is called: HSVM 1/2 AB. These test results came back as follows: 2.17 H(2).
No other information was provided in the test results identifying the "timeframe" of infection.

My questions to you are:
1.) From the HSVM 1/2 AB test, can you provide information regarding the timeframe of infection and what exactly the test results mean??....including the type of test performed and its significance.
2.) Can you describe the differences between the test result "figures", or numbers? (The tests were taken approximately 6 days apart.)

For piece of mind, I need to know whether or not this is a recent infection or an old infection.
Your help and expertise would be appreciated.
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The first test indicates you indeed are infected with HSV-2.  Somtimes the type-specific blood tests are falsely positive, but not when the result is so strongly positive.

However, you were given bad advice about the follow-up test.  In theory, the presence of IgM antibody indicates recent infection.  Unfortunately, it doesn't work well for HSV-2.  Many people with recent infections have no IgM antibody, and many people with longstanding infections do have it.  (Many doctor's don't understand this, so don't blame him or her.  But use the search link to see many other discussions of this in previous threads on this forum.)  As for the different IgG and IgM numbers (3.47 versus 2.17), they mean nothing at all.

In other words, it is not possible to know from any blood tests how long a person has been infected with HSV-2.  (Except it's more than 3 weeks, which is the earliest that any antibody can be detected.)  There only ways to judge the timing is to know when a person might have been exposed, such as sex with a known-infected partner, or to think back on symptoms that might have been due to an initial HSV-2 infection, even if those symptoms weren't so obvious at the time.  If you ever had a few days of genital itching or sores, perhaps with swollen lymph nodes in the groin, that would be a clue.  Another possibility would be for your current sex partner(s) to be tested.  If s/he (or they) all are HSV-2 negative, then obviously you must have been infected before that (or those) relationships began.

Bottom line:  I would like to help you find the peace of mind you seek, but probably it isn't going to happen.  Unless you have clues from symptoms or exposure, or from partner test results, you should expect to never know for sure when you were infected.

I hope this helps, even if it's not what you wanted to hear.  Best wishes--  HHH, MD
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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