Herpes Forum
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Avatar universal

Can I finally trust these test results?

Hey Terri-
I spoke with you on the phone several months ago about my situation.

I thought I was infected with herpes on May 22, 2012. I had oral sex with another male, and he attempted to insert his penis in my anus (unprotected). The pain was fairly severe, so it only lasted about 5 seconds or so. About two days later, I felt pressure in my rectum and I think I saw 2 or 3 bumps. The pressure increased a bit and subsided in about a week (I was never in tremendous pain). From that point on, I have been experiencing some weird “symptoms” but nothing that screams herpes (pain in the back of my legs, daily tingling on my scrotum and perianal area, little red bumps on my scalp that I can actually see, penis/anus feel tender sometimes if I’m tired or stressed, red abrasions on the inside of my cheeks that become little cuts, etc).

After describing my initial symptoms to my doctor, he put me on Valtrex for a few days. From that point forward, I have been on a rollercoaster ride of antivirals and testing:

6-14-12: Prescribed Valtrex

6-18-12: First Test (HSV1: 0.11 & HSVII: 0.59)

6-20-12: Prescribed daily Acyclovir (1600mg) 8-20-12: Second Test (HSV1: 0.08 & HSVII: 0.54)

9-20-12: Third Test (HSVII: 0.40)

10-25-12: I take your advice and stop taking the Acyclovir, hoping to get an accurate test result.

11-8-12: Fourth Test: (HSVII: 0.61)

1-7-13: Fifth Test: (HSV II: 0.69)

3-11-13: Sixth Test: (HSVII: 0.56)

I stopped being concerned about HSV1 after the first two tests, since it was so low. The consistently higher HSVII number is what really scared me, and I was even more worried when the number started to climb after coming off the antivirals. My doctors have all insisted that “negative is negative” and that I can’t assume anything from the pattern of numbers.

I have tested negative for every other STD (including HIV). Can I trust these 4.5 month test results once and for all or do you think I need to seek out a Western Blot test?
21 Responses
55646 tn?1263664409
I think, given the values associated with your HSV 2 results, that you should get the western blot, to be certain.

No one has ever claimed that any herpes test is infallible.  
I have no idea about the timing of this other person's testing or how much antiviral medicine they took and when or what sexual experiences they had after that, and I won't begin to guess.  We, at our clinic, have had 9 people in 31 years that have tested swab test positive and antibody negative or equivocal, via western blot.  

You can live in fear of this forever or you can do the best testing possible and leave it at that.  If you do the western blot, you will have done all you possible can to detect infection.

I would be happy to order this for you through our clinic or you can order a test kit via UW.  

Avatar universal
Hey Terri
I just wanted to add this... There are several people on another HSV forum who swab tested positive with negative blood tests. One gentleman swabbed positive after testing negative 13 times (once via western blot). I guess this is part of the reason I'm having trouble moving on.

I also continue to feel this sporadic tingling on my scrotum on a daily basis. The doctors are saying it's in my head, but it is so annoying... I have back pain, so maybe that is causing it? I just know I have never felt this in the past- it's so weird...
Avatar universal
Thanks so much, Terri. I actually have an appointmnt scheduled with a doctor here in New York on Monday who is supposedly able to order a Western Blot test. I hope it doesn't take a great deal of convincing with all of my negative test results. I had a doctor refuse to retest me last month, and he suggested I see a therapist :(

That having been said, how long does it take to get results from a Western Blot? I've heard it can be up to a month. Is it pretty much guaranteed that the WB result will be definitive at this point?

In an old post, you said that some people have consistently high negatives who are truly neative. I was just wondering how my numbers measure up to your experiences. Is it very rare for someone to test in the range that I have been testing in and still be negative?
55646 tn?1263664409
Most people who test with a high negative really are negative.  There are a few who are positive.  Maybe 5%.  Most of the time, they are high negatives because they are really negative, but sometimes, they are high negatives as they are passing through that range on their way to a positive.  I don't think that fits your situation, though.

Good that you have an appointment, follow through with that and let me know.  The western blot can take up to three weeks, in our experience.
Avatar universal
Hey Terri-
Well, I saw my doctor and he didn't know a western blot was even "commercially available for herpes." He flipped through two huge books (one from Quest) and said he didn't see the test. So, what would the next step be to obtain this test?

The doctor I saw also seemed to think that "negative is negative" and that all the tingling and other symptoms are from anxiety. I just don't know what to think- I would swear that I'm really feeling these things. The tingling is uncomfortable and what I would describe as annoying. Is that an atypical symptom that you often see in people who have HSV? I never develop bumps or sores with the tingling, though...
55646 tn?1263664409
The westerns blot if NOT commercially available, he is correct.  You can get it in one of two ways  - you can order the test from the University of Washington and have your doctor draw the blood and send it to the lab or we, at the clinic, can order this test for you.  

The tingling could be just anything!  That alone, without any other symptoms, doesn't concern me about herpes, no.

Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Here are 16 facts you need to know to protect yourself from contracting or spreading a sexually transmitted disease.
How do you keep things safer between the sheets? We explore your options.
Can HIV be transmitted through this sexual activity? Dr. Jose Gonzalez-Garcia answers this commonly-asked question.
A breakthrough study discovers how to reduce risk of HIV transmission by 95 percent.
Dr. Jose Gonzalez-Garcia provides insight to the most commonly asked question about the transfer of HIV between partners.
The warning signs of HIV may not be what you think. Our HIV and STD expert Sean Cummings reports in-depth on the HIV "Triad" and other early symptoms of this disease.