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What are herpes tests telling me
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What are herpes tests telling me

Last year my boyfriend and I decided to have STD (including herpes) tests taken, before we were sexually active. I am a 41 yr old women and have never had any outbreaks or obvious signs of anything, but the tests that came back listed this:
HSV1 IgG - 1.47
HSV2 IgG - 3.53

Then another taken:
HSV IgG, HERPESELECT - 3.08
HSV IGG Inhibition, ELISA  - NEGATIVE

Then another taken:
WESTERN BLOT - Positive for HSV 1 and HSV 2

We've spoken to a number of Dr.s that can't give us a definitive answer when asked how should we read these, many have said don't worry about it and just perform as you would like. With all this time and tests we are only sexually active with a condom and he has not performed oral sex.
Please let me know how I should read these tests.
Thank you
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239123_tn?1267651214
Welcome to the forum.

The answer is straightforward.  Your blood tests whow you are infected with HSV-1 and HSV-2.  Most likely the HSV-1 infection is oral, and probably dates back to childhood.  Almost all HSV-2 infections are genital.  In other words, you have genital herpes, whether or not you have symptoms.  You may have had it for several years.

Up to 60% of people with positive HSV-2 blood tests come to recognize mild recurrent genital herpes symptoms, usually within a few months.  It might be only a localized itch, until you look closely -- in which case you likely would see a blister or sore.  If and when that happens, visit your doctor promptly -- within a day or two -- so the lesion can be tested for the virus.  In the meantime, however, you can safely assume you have genital herpes.

You don't mention any symptoms your partner may have, or the results of his blood tests.  What did they show?  Assuming his HSV-2 test is negative, then he is not the source of your infection.  In that case, there is a chance of transmission to him by unprotected vaginal or anal sex.  That risk is lower, but not zero, with consistent condom use.  If you start suppressive treatment, preferably with valacyclovir (Valtrex), the transmission chance will lower still.  

Here is the link to another thread, which goes into more detail about sexual transmission of HSV-2 and its prevention:  http://www.medhelp.org/posts/STDs/Transmission/show/1090378

You may wish to participate in MedHelp's herpes community forum.  It's free, the moderators are highly experienced herpes counselors, and you can find lots of additional advice about coping with a new diagnosis of genital herpes, protecing your partner, and other useful information.

Best wishes--  HHH, MD
3 Comments
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I have taken the herpes tests 3x's, 1st test was positive for HSV-2  IgG(3.53) and then 2nd test HSV-2 Inhibition, ELISA came back negative. Why is one pos and one neg, and how do I determine the answer with these results?
Also, does the antibody level in time change or does it stay same, and does a higher number mean there is higher risk of transmission?
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239123_tn?1267651214
The Western blot rules.  The combination of postive IgG with an index value of 3.53 and the positive WB proves you are infected, regardless of the inhibition assay result.  (There really was no reason to do that test.)

The terminology of ELISA results is confusing, but your value of 3.53 says nothing about the "antibody level".  There is no difference in meaning between a result of 3.5 and, say, 5.0 or 6.5, etc.  The number may vary from one test to another, but not because of changing amounts of antibody in the blood; and the value says nothing at all about the likelihood of recurrent outbreaks, asymptomatic viral shedding, or the potential for transmission.
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