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I was recently tested for herpes and am confused.

I tested negative for HSV 1 & 2 IgG antibodies. My IgG levels were .04 for HSV-1 and .08 for HSV-2, anything above .89 is positive. I tested positive for IgM antibodies but they don't know what strain. They want me to come back for more. My primary care physician says don't cause I haven't had sex in months, never had unprotected sex, and have never had an outbreak.
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Also, my positive status for IgM was called a "low positive" due to the fact that my levels were 1.53, and it had to be over 1.09-1.10 to be positive. Since it was only barely over, and they do not know what strain, and IgG was negative, they want me to come back for more. But should I?
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207091 tn?1337709493
Oh I'm so sorry you are going through this, because it is unnecessary. The IgM is a useless test, and shouldn't be done on anyone except newborns.

It is totally unreliable, and is wrong probably as often as it is right - my own was positive when it should have been negative, and negative when it should have been positive.

No expert, including the CDC, recommends the IgM anymore, and in fact, advise against this test.

If it worked as it should, it detects new infections - within a few weeks. You haven't had sex for months, so this test shouldn't have been done on you in the first place. It doesn't apply to your situation. If it's been 12-16 weeks since your last sexual encounter - oral, vaginal or anal - then your IgG is conclusive, and you are negative.





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When I did the math, I realized it has only been about 6-9 weeks since my last sexual encounter. So max two months.

It was protected sex and the person did not currently have an outbreak, however, to both of our knowledge they also do not have HSV.

They broke things off to go back to their ex, who I found out had gotten herpes AFTER their relationship from someone else.

I did not trust that the man I was sleeping with was being honest with me that he was not with her sexually while he was with me. Therefore, I got tested approximately two months later.

I am going back in 4 weeks for another test, which will then have been 12 weeks.

I decided to bring my results to my primary care physician. She told me she only would have ordered the IgG and because it was negative, and such an extremely low negative at that, she would have left it at that.

She also said she felt as if I was already going above and beyond compared to most.

I have read through the links you attached plus more over the past week. What worries me is that, as stated in the second to last link you attached, it says, "So, the presence of IgM antibodies against herpes don’t tell you if this is a recent infection or a reactivation and so is of no use clinically."

This is specifically troubling because every where says the reason IgM test are not recommended is because they simply cant tell you very accurate things about the herpes you have, like what strain, if it was a recent contraction, if it is a reoccurrence, etc.

But I cannot find anywhere that says the invalidity of the test is due to making people think they have herpes when they do not.

I have read that you will only have IgM antibodies if you have been exposed to HSV. I know that they are not the ones that stay in your body for the rest of your life, the IgG ones do.

Does this mean my IgM antibodies will go away possibly? Should I even spend more money on more testing? What makes IgM present in your system other than HSV? Why would I have IgM present if I do not have HSV?

I have not recently had any other illness from that virus family, however, I have had a chicken pox vaccine I believe.

I also have been so stressed about it that when I went to my primary care physician yesterday to ask questions, my blood pressure was approximately 180/90 and they would not let me leave until it went down.

I just keep repeating to myself, "My primary care physician is someone I trust, they saw the results, they know my sexual time frame, and they still said they would have stopped at the negative IgG."
We don't know that you have IgM antibodies. It could be a false positive. You are assuming you have them, and you might not. I've seen it positive in people who have no reason for it to be positive, scientifically. The hsv2 IgG has a lot of false positives because it reacts to a protein in the blood - perhaps the IgG is the same way. Because the IgM is not being used a lot any more - and it shouldn't be - it's not being studied a lot to find out all the reasons why.

It could react to the chicken pox vaccine - https://www.ashasexualhealth.org/herpes-testing/

"IgM tests sometimes cross-react with other viruses in the same family, such as varicella zoster virus (VZV) which causes chickenpox or cytomegalovirus (CMV) which causes mono, meaning that positive results may be misleading."

Here are some responses from Terri Warren, one of the world's leading experts in herpes"

* https://westoverheights.com/forum/question/igm-positive-but-later-igg-negative-should-i-continue-testing/

"Why was my IgM positive?
Because the test is terrible and flawed and should never have been used."

* https://westoverheights.com/forum/question/positive-igm-negative-igg-2/

"First, the CDC says never to do IgM testing. There are a whole lot of false positives on this test – in my practice, 90% of positive IgMs are false positives."

* https://westoverheights.com/forum/question/could-something-be-interfering-with-my-igm-test/

"The IgM test is terrible – many false positives, cannot accurately distinguish between HSV 1 and 2, the CDC and everyone else strongly recommends against it’s use. In my experience, about 8 or 9 out of 10 positives on the IgM are false positives – that is they do not ever confirm with IgG which is the preferable test. A UTI would not interfere with the IgM – heaven only knows what interferes with the IgM – basically anything seems to."

So I'm suggesting that you ignore that you had the test entirely. I have no faith in it - no one does. If it was supposed to detect my antibodies, and didn't, it tells you it's unreliable, right? You are very concerned about the implications of this test, and I'm suggesting that you ignore it, and act like you didn't have it.

So don't focus on trying to figure out why your test was positive. You'll likely never know. Let your doctor know they should have never done this test in the first place.

And is this level of anxiety normal for you? That's far more concerning than an IgM test, or even a herpes diagnosis would be. Blood pressure at that level is very dangerous, and you need to address this. Focus on that instead of this crappy test. That's way more important than herpes will ever be.
Thank you so much. These links were actually extremely helpful!! I have compiled a large quantity of documents with information pertaining to the inaccuracy and unreliability of IgM testing. I plan to bring these to my gynecologist and confront them about why the gave me IgM testing to begin with.

As for my anxiety levels, yes, this is unfortunately normal for me. I have found no help through therapy or through medication from a psychiatrist. I have manic depression, which my most recent therapist has told me is really my bipolar disorder, as well as my crippling anxiety. My anxiety mostly manifests itself through my OCD.

My OCD is what I believe was making it so hard to accept possibly having herpes. This is because I know that if you have herpes, there will never be a way to fully control not spreading it. I know that if you are not having an outbreak, you are medicated, and you are wearing protection, that the chances are extremely EXTREMELY low. However, they are not 0%. There is never going to be a complete and total 0% chance of not transmitting it, and not having the ability to control something like that scared me.

I also cannot ride with anyone else in a car, not my friends, family or anyone. I had a bad wreck about 3 years ago, totaled my car, banged up my face, and broke my hand. Ever since then, I get this sense of impending doom when I am not the one who is in control of the vehicle and begin to have a panic attack.

It is debilitating. But more than that, it is frustrating whenever you realize your mental illness is begin to take a toll on you not only in your mind, but physically as well. Any time I experience pain of any kind, whether it be pain of the mind, body, or spirit, my blood pressure sky rockets. Therefore, it is almost near impossible for me to avoid because of my IBS and endometriosis. I am almost always in pain, and if I'm not in pain, then I'm stressed.

Unfortunately, there are also several reasons I am unable to take many of the options available for high blood pressure medication. Some medications I am currently already on will interact badly with a multitude of medications used to regulate blood pressure, as well as having medical conditions that do not work well with blood pressure medications.

I have already accepted the fact that the stress on my cardiovascular system currently will probably end up causing me to have a stroke at 40. This is unfortunate, but stressing about it just makes the situation worse of course. I am not overweight, I am an ex-gymnast and still am able to maintain the physique of such. I have a great diet thanks to learning to manage my IBS. Yet still, I have horribly high blood pressure. That is because stress and anxiety are my number one factors. All I can really do, is just try not to think about it. Because it's not like there's anything else I can do like workout more or eat healthier to be in better shape, since I am already in good shape (accordingly to all of my medical care professionals).

Once again, thank you so much for educating me more on all of this. I now feel well prepared to talk about this with my gynecologist, and with my new gynecologist when I get one.
Thank you for sharing all that with me, and it's very helpful to know. I understand why this has thrown you so much, and you are a prime example of why doctors need to be so much better educated on these tests. Even the calmest, most Zen person on the planet can get upset by these tests, right? No one wants herpes, obviously. Someone who fights every day for some kind of normal has a much harder time processing that they might have it, and it's actually cruel to toss this in when it's done ALL FREAKING WRONG. (Okay, climbing off my soapbox now.)

I'm glad you feel more empowered going into your gyno appointment. Let me know if I can help in any other way. :)
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