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Avatar universal

From Equivocal to Positive...

My situation is rather complicated, and seems unique to me (...I have read so many genital herpes posts on here...)  I will try to provide all relevant info.
My question is:  Should I pursue the Western Blot from Univ. of Washington?  (or bioKit?)
Here's what's happened:
About 4 weeks ago, I tested "Equivocal" on Herpeselect (IGG):  1.0
About 1 week ago, I tested "Positive" on Herpeselect (IGG):  1.703
My most recent encounter was 10 months prior.   I do have a current partner, but she has proven to me that she's
Negative.   The Planned Parenthood nurse who told me of the Positive result said I should not bother re-testing; I'm
definitely positive, she says.  (She also said that Western Blot is for HIV only, which made me wonder about her knowledge; or perhaps she's just a herpeselect advocate).
I had apparent symptoms 15 years ago. I had vaginal, condom sex with a stranger, for about 1 minute.  It was non-vigorous sex, just a few "pumps" and probably not deep penetration (it's difficult to remember).  About a week later I started having vaginal, condom sex with a different woman (someone I knew much better, and had less reason to be suspicious of STD's with).   I had sex with her about 4 times, always with a condom.  No oral sex.  Early on with her (approximately the day after we first had sex?  It's difficult to remember), I noticed raw, irritated, redness on the side of my normally white shaft.  Definitely an area under where condoms cover (but I understand the herpes virus can migrate from where the initial skin-to-skin contact took place).  This redness spread a bit, staying on the right side of the shaft, and perhaps moving to the penis head a bit  (I'm circumcised).  Perhaps since I had sex a few more times with this woman, I exacerbated the problem.  At the time, I was on "Larium," an anti-malaria drug.  But I was on no other medications.  I drank a lot of beer and alcohol during that period.  So, the redness and irritation eventually grew damp, causing underwear to stick slightly to penis during the day.  It was sort of painful to pull the underwear off.  I don't think the raw area itself was painful otherwise; just annoying.  I did not get the chance to see a health professional until about 1 month later.  I went to Planned Parenthood.  The rawness was still there, but improving a lot.  I remember they did a swab at the tip of the penis  (and maybe on the raw area too?);  I don't recall a blood draw.  They told me it was a yeast infection.  I moved on with my life (perhaps foolishly), with no follow-up.  They never mentioned the possibility of Herpes.  Here we are 15 years later, and I have this herpes issue.  Did I have recurrent OB's over the past 15 years?  I think not.  But as I learn how mild OB's can be, I can't say for sure!   By the way, I think I'm positive for Herpes Type I.  I can check on that, and try to get the number too.  (I think that was tested as part of my first recent test, where I showed up as "Equivocal" for genital herpes).   These days I'm refraining from any sexual contact at all; my current partner is waiting to get tested herself (it's been about 1 month since we had sex;  we always use condoms)...     Thanks for any advice!
13 Responses
101028 tn?1419606604
what was going on 15 years ago doesn't sound herpes related. you also would've tested + on your first hsv2 igg you had, not equivocal if you had contracted it 15 years ago.

you have to wait at this point another 2 months and repeat the herpes igg blood testing you had done. you tested too early this time. depending on that result, depends if you need the WB or not. another option is to wait a full 4 months after you last had sex and just seek out the WB. how to obtain a herpes WB blood test in the US is listed in our read before posting post on the forum.

Avatar universal
  Thanks for the response.
  Just to clarify:   My most recent sexual encounter with a partner of unknown HSV 2 status was 10 months ago.  We had protected vaginal sex a few times and unprotected a few times over a three-week span.  
  I most recently had vaginal protected sex with my current partner about a month ago.  But she has shown me documentation that proves she's negative for both HSV 1 and HSV 2.    
   So, doesn't this mean I've waited long enough?  I'm not sure I understand why you think I need to wait if I've waited 10 months already before these 2 recent blood tests.   My current partner is understandably anxious that I may have transmitted HSV 2 to her.  And I'm going a little crazy myself over the results of these blood tests I've had!
Thanks again...
101028 tn?1419606604
if your newest partner had type specific herpes igg blood testing done at least 3 months after her last partner, then you can go for the WB now.  If her testing was done too early, you have to still wait.
Avatar universal
   Thanks, Grace.  I will get the WB eventually, in the next few months. I'm just not feeling up to it now and I'm sexually inactive.  
    In the meantime, I'm hoping for a possible swab test as I've noticed some suspicious signs on the penis shaft.  My question is:  If a genital herpes lesion has crusted over, is it too late to get it swabbed?  (I've heard contradictory info on that issue from my local Planned Parenthood).   I had a pinkish region on the penis shaft that seemed to develop over a 3-4 week period.  It never hurt or itched, and never "burst" or "oozed."  Suddenly, a few days ago, it appeared to be crusted and scab-like.  I could go get it swabbed as soon as tomorrow, but don't know if it's worth the time and money if it's not really a candidate for swabbing.
Avatar universal
   It seems Grace retired.  I miss her already!  If anyone out there can answer my question, please do!  Here it is:
   If you've waited long enough since last exposure (in my case, I waited 10.5 months which is generally considered "enough"), does that indicate there's a good chance that your Low Positive is really a False Positive for HSV-2?   By the way, my HSV-1 is negative, so I know that doesn't help my chances of my Low Positive being a False Positive.  
   A big part of my anxiety these days is that, if I'm actually Negative, my 2nd blood test wasn't even necessary!  My first test was equivocal. I only got the 2nd test because I told my doctor I had suspicious symptoms 15 years ago and he thought that was compelling reason to get re-tested!  Now, granted I've had a few sexual partners over the past 15 years.  But only about 4 of them, and most of the sex I had during that time was protected.  
   Thanks to anyone who can provide insight!  I know I need to get the Western Blot eventually, but frankly it scares me to "face the music"!
3149845 tn?1506631371
Hi, just to get up to steam, were are you in the testing and retesting and what are the most recent numbers or results.
Avatar universal
Mid-May, 2013:  "Equivocal" on Herpeselect (IGG):  1.0 for HSV-2  (was not given a number for HSV-1)
Early-June 2013:  "Positive" on Herpeselect (IGG):  1.703 for HSV-2 and "Negative" for HSV-1

Granted, I did have sex with a woman regularly Jan. thru mid-May, 2013, but she had tested negative for HSV-1 and HSV-2 shortly before we met, and she had waited about 6 months prior to testing. Also, we always used a condom for vaginal sex.  We did have unprotected oral.  We stopped having sexual contact completely the day I received the "Equivocal" result in mid-May, 2013.

Thus, I'm considering my last risky exposure as sex I had with a different woman in June, 2012.  We had vaginal sex four times:  twice protected and twice not.  We also had unprotected oral.

Thanks for any insights!
Avatar universal
One more question:  Does anybody know of any proven factor (other than the case of a recent infection where antibodies are still building) that can cause someone who is truly positive to have his igg number "deflated" (i.e. From a strongly positive number to a low positive or equivocal number?)
  I hear all the time about causes for INFLATED igg numbers that cause a true false igg to shoe up as equivocal or low positive.  But I don't think I've ever heard of causes for DEFLATION.
Avatar universal
Can anyone advise me on pursuing the Western Blot for HSV in Denver, CO?  The problem I'm having is that I'm on a limited budget and though I have health insurance it's a high-deductible which I'm far from meeting.  I've found an infectious disease consultant eager to see me, but I believe that seeing her is like adding an expensive and unnecessary "middle-man" to the process.  I called an Urgent Care to see if they could help, but they require a directive from a doctor.  
Isn't there some way I could just have U. of Washington send me the kit and I could take it directly to a certain lab to have the blood drawn?  Anyone know of such a lab in Denver?   Thanks....
Avatar universal
Wanted to bring this up-to-date and provide a conclusion for my thread here.  I got the Western Blot from the University of Washington, with the help of Westover Heights Clinic in Portland, OR. (I became a phone patient).

So, to recap:
*May, 2013:  Was not tested for HSV1;   Equivocal (1.0) for HSV2 (HerpeSelect)
*June, 2013:  Negative for HSV1;  Positive (1.703) for HSV2 (HerpeSelect)
*No Sexual Contact at all from June, 2013 to present  (and please note, my contact with partners of unknown status occurred in July, 2012, and several years before that;  my partner in May, 2013 had documentation showing she was negative for both viruses).
*February, 2014:    Positive for HSV1;  Negative for HSV2 (Western Blot)

So, to conclude:  The Western Blot proved that I do not in fact have HSV2, but rather, have HSV1.   Now that I am more aware of my body because of this ordeal, I think I can notice the occasional cold-sore on the center of my lower lip.  (They seem way less bothersome than canker sores inside the mouth).  I'm not 100% sure this is evidence of my HSV-1 infection but at least now I'm more aware.

I encouage anyone with a "Low Positive" on the HerpeSelect to seek out the Western Blot.  And I highly recommend Westover Heights.   And a big THANK YOU to Grace and the other people I met on this forum who helped me through this process.  
Avatar universal
Thanks for the update!  I'm sure you're happy with the results... you should be.
Avatar universal
Thank you.  I am happy.  And relieved.  And reflective.  It's a mixture of emotions.  I must say, the fact that my girlfriend left me over all of this really saddens me, but helps me put things in perspective, too.  I met a few people who have HSV-2 during this process (and got to know one existing riend who "came out of the closet" to me with his HSV-2 status)...  

And I have concluded that the stigma surrounding HSV is really unfair.  I have to wonder, what if I was in the other person's shoes?  What if I discovered my girlfriend had HSV-2?  How would I react?  And I'm now much more sympathetic to someone who tests positive, having lived for 7 months rather convinced that I was positive.  

I'm also going to be a lot more careful now about tracking my own sexual health, and being on the same page with future partners.

I'm also extremely disappointed with how my case was handled by:  My doctor, my local Planned Parenthood (the nurse flat-out told me: a) I have HSV-2 definitely, just accept it AND there is NO WESTERN BLOT for HSV; it only exists for HIV.  

Thank goodness for medhelp.org, Westover Heights, and The University of Washington.  And I'm not just saying that because I'm rather relieved with my results.  I also say that because I got the Truth.  
Avatar universal
Clarification:  girlfriend left me, not "over all of this."  She left me because of my positive diagnosis for HSV-2, which ultimately proved to be a False Positive.
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