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False positive herpes test?

Hello,
I was dating a girl this summer and we had unprotected sex. She had told me that she is tested with a full panel  annually and has never had a positive result.

I saw my doctor a month after this and had a blood test done it came back with an IGG of 1.24. I was shocked, and followed up with another blood test a week later that came back at 1.04. I am unable to get a western blot due to the state I am in and they didn't do a biokit test for confirmation.
It seems likely that this was a false positive given the range I am in. Should I retest at 12 weeks? Find a way to get the biokit test or western blot out of state? Or let it go assuming that it's a false positive?.

This is the only time Ive had unprotected sex, I realize that it was a mistake but I believed we were alright given that neither of us ever came back positive before with anything. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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207091 tn?1337709493
COMMUNITY LEADER
On the IgG, is that a type specific result, or are you getting one result for both hsv1 and hsv2?

You can't get a Western Blot until 12 weeks anyway, so make sure that this is a type specific IgG, and get another test at 6 weeks, and at 12 weeks.

I'm assuming you're in NY. That's the only state I know of where you can't get the WB done. Before worrying about that, make sure your tests are type specific - you should have a separate index value for each type, and wait until an appropriate time has passed. So far, since the number went down, it seems like a false positive, but it's too soon to tell.

You can get a type specific IgG test with an index value on any of these sites:

https://www.stdcheck.com/herpes-1-test.php - can test for just hsv1 or hsv2, or both

https://www.letsgetchecked.com/home-herpes-test/ - must test for hsv1 and hsv2

https://www.healthlabs.com/herpes-tests - can test for just hsv1 or hsv2, or both

https://www.ultalabtests.com/partners/ultdirect/testing/categories/std/herpes - can nest for just hsv1 or hsv2, or both - do not get the IgM test

At 6 weeks, you'll want to test for both. If one is negative at 6 weeks from your last exposure, you can skip that one at 12 weeks.

All the sites run specials at different times. Google for coupon codes, too.
Helpful - 2
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Thank you for replying. it was type specific, the numbers above are my IGG levels for HSV2. My IGG level for HSV 1 is .90. my understanding is that antibodies for HSV 1 may also interfere with the IGG test for HSV2.

Ive honestly been shocked by just how little information and support there is out there. My doctor flat out didn't believe that it's possible for an IGG test to bring back false positives and has been very difficult with me trying to get confirmative testing.
Oh, don't get me started on the medical profession and herpes.

Show your doctor this:

https://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment-guidelines/herpes.htm

"The most commonly used test, HerpeSelect HSV-2 enzyme immunoassay (EIA), often is falsely positive at low index values (1.1–3.0) (457–457). One study reported an overall specificity of 57.4%, with a specificity of 39.8% for index values of 1.1–2.9 (458). Because of the poor specificity of commercially available type-specific EIAs, particularly with low index values (<3.0), a confirmatory test (Biokit or Western blot) with a second method should be performed before test interpretation. Use of confirmatory testing with the Biokit or the Western blot assays have been reported to improve accuracy of HSV-2 serologic testing (459)."

If your doctor is going to be diagnosing and treating STDs, he absolutely needs to be aware of the CDC's STD Treatment Guidelines. We've known for years - easily 8 years or longer - that there are false positives on the hsv2 IgG test. It is shameful that your doctor doesn't know.

Yes, hsv1 can trip it up, but your hsv1 test is equivocal, and I'd bet also a false result.

The tests don't look for antibodies themselves, but rather things that have similar weight to the antibodies. Often, they can pick up normal blood proteins of similar molecular weight, causing false positives.

Terri Warren, a nurse practitioner who is also a leading expert in the field, offers the WB. You have to self-pay, and it's expensive, but if you get to that point, she has worked with others in NY (again, assuming that's where you are) to get it.

How many weeks is it now?
I sent the information above to my doctor after my positive result. He acted like I was is in denial and told me I had to accept that I was positive. He gave me a hard time in getting a second test and when the equivocal result came back for HSV2 he dismissed it. I am going to change practices soon. He's been worse than no help at all. Not to mention that I was asymptomatic and probably shouldn't have been tested for HSV2 in the first place for this very reason.  

Anyway, It has been 6 weeks since my last possible exposure. I'll see about setting up another test for this Saturday using the site you provided above. I actually reached out to Terri, but she hasn't replied yet, and yes I am in upstate New York. So the drive to say Vermont or Massachusetts would be doable if a western blot is necessary.
Yeah, I'd change doctors, too, if mine thought they knew more than the CDC.

If your 6 week test doesn't jump a lot - by at least a full point or two, I think you can count this as a false positive. You'll need to wait until 12 weeks to know for sure, but if it just goes up by a percentage, don't freak out.

I also have to say that at this point I have very little faith in this test given its inherent problems. To the point that I am wairy of using it again.
Thank you for all your help!
I don't blame you, but it's a process, and it's what we have. If you want to wait until 12 weeks, that's fine, if you can wait that long.

Either way, you can't do a WB until 12 weeks. What you do in the meantime is your call - no right or wrong.
Hello again Auntiejessi, I wanted to thank you for sending the above information. It was a massive help. I got another test from LabCorp with STD Check .com. it came back Negative for both at 7 weeks. Thank you again for your advice.
Yay!! Congrats! I'm happy for you. Take care. :)
Hi Auntiejessi,
I have to admit that this experience was fairly traumatic. I'm having a difficult time accepting that I don't have anything to worry about. I've been thinking about additional testing, although I know it's not necessary or probably a good idea given my previous experience. I'm just wondering what your thoughts are.
Thanks.
Listen, if you need another test to put this to bed mentally, that's fine. If you need to pay for the WB, that's fine, too. This test messes with your head, and I get it.

If you decide to test again, wait until 12 weeks, so you aren't over-testing, and do one more IgG. If you get a negative, then you have more neg than positive, right?

If you need more confirmation, the WB is always there.

I know it's easy for me to say you're negative, but I know that realistically, I'm a stranger on the internet to you, and this test process is a mess.

Keep me posted on what you decide, and your results if you decide to test again. I believe you are negative, but there are no right or wrongs here.
Thank you for your answer.  I want to point out that you, a stranger on the internet, have been more helpful than my doctor. He now believes that I was one of the minority of people who clear the virus, even though I've tried to tell him about the testing flaws.

It's just that right now having learned about prodromal, every feeling I get in that area causes a bit of anxiety.  But no breakouts have occurred. In reality I probably just need time to get over the experience I had. Thank you again.

Btw, I've noticed that LabCorp tests seem to come back negative when people go for confirmation testing after a quest test comes back positive. I wonder if there is something to that?
Wow, you do need a new doctor. No one "clears" herpes. Now he's just making stuff up instead of admitting he doesn't know.

A lot of tests come back negative when going back for confirmation - Quest labs do, too. It's because they can pick up normal blood proteins sometimes.

Prodrome is a warning sign that an outbreak is coming. It lasts 2 days, tops. A lot of people get caught up in that, but try hard not to. You can be hyper-focused on the area and notice things that are totally normal.

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