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Avatar universal

Positive IgG vs. Negative PCR


I have read so much conflicting information around Herpes testing on the web and I am very confused. I was recently diagnosed with Herpes 2 via IgG antibody test (never had an outbreak). My result was ">8.0" which appears to be very high. I was tested via this method twice and both had the same result. I was also tested via Herpes PCR blood test and it came back negative. My doctors explanation was that I have the antibodies but not the virus...which confused me even more! I was under the impression that you can still spread Herpes via "anti-viral shedding" (which is how most new cases occur right?). If this is the case, since I tested negative for the virus (PCR), can I still transmit Herpes via antiviral shedding?

I suppose the bigger question is:

1. How is it possible to test positive for Herpes 2 antibodies, and also test negative for Herpes 2 in a PCR blood test? If you have a negative PCR blood test, does that mean the virus is gone? If the virus is gone, does that mean you are not contagious? Does the Herpes virus have to be active or viral shedding to be positive for a PCR blood test? Under what circumstances would a PCR blood test be positive for Herpes 2? Web MD recommends this method (PCR blood test) as an accurate method to test for the Herpes Virus.

2. In theory, if science did find a "cure" for Herpes that eradicated the virus, what scientific test is available to prove the individual no longer has the virus and therefore could no longer transmit the virus? Would Herpes antibodies eventually go away?
3 Responses
55646 tn?1263664409
1.  Oh dear.  That is one of the biggest medical boo boos I've seen on this site.  PCR should be used as a SWAB test, not a blood test.  Rarely do people with herpes have virus in their blood stream, is it in the nerve and on the skin, not in the blood.  The WebMD site does say this, and I will ask them to correct this immediately.  Kind of unbelievable.   PCR SWAB test is definitely the recommended method for swabbing lesions.  At an index value of >8, you are definitely infected with HSV 2 and can infect people when you do and don't have a lesion.

2.  Since we are no where near this, I don't know how to answer that question at this time.

I hope this is helpful in understanding your test results.  Oh dear.

Avatar universal
Thank you for your response Terri. I wonder why the PCR blood test would even be offered if it isn't any good. You say Herpes is found in the nerve and on the skin. If this is the case, how can you test for Herpes in the nerve?

Also, to my question earlier, under what circumstance would a PCR blood test be positive for Herpes?
55646 tn?1263664409
A PCR blood test might be used when systemic infection, such as in a newborn, is suspected.  A newborn who has herpes and no effective immune system might well have virus in their blood.  That is about the only usual circumstance when a herpes PCR of the blood would be used.  

I have contacted WedMD about the error on their site, don't know when they will respond

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