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Can I pass Herpes and Syphillis if I test negative?


In September 2010, I had unprotected oral (receiving) and vaginal sex with one person.  

I was separated from my wife at the time and reunited with her in October 2010, at which point we began having unprotected sex within the marriage.  My wife hasn't had sexual partners other than myself.

In December 2010, I submitted to blood and urine STD tests.  I tested positive for Chlamidya and negative for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Gonorrhea, Herpes 1, Herpes 2 HIV and Syphillis.  Following my positive test, my wife went to her doctor for testing.  Today she told me her doctor informed her she tested positive for Chlamidya, Syphillis and Herpes.  According to her, her doctor says I can carry and pass on Syphillis and Herpes even while testing negative.  She also says the tests show the Herpes may be 2-3 years old, but more tests are needed to determine the type and duration of her Herpes infection.  She says results of Gonorrhea and HIV are still pending.

During the past 3 years my wife had a pap regularly, and the results were normal.  We had a child in June 2010, and during the pregnancy she was tested for STDs and the results were all negative.  However, according to my wife via her doctor, these tests may be unreliable because they were conducted in a foreign country (Hong Kong, we are now back in the U.S.).

My questions are:

1) Are STD tests in Hong Kong known to be any less reliable than those in the U.S.?

2) Is it possible for me to test negative for Herpes and Syphillis yet still pass the diseases on to others?

3) Is it possible that I obtained and transmitted Herpes and Syphillis to her 2-3 years ago, and she received false negatives on her previous STD tests?

4) How likely is it that my STD tests produced false negatives?

5) I believe my wife may be embellishing to increase my feelings of guilt.  In your opinion, does her story add up given the other known facts?

Thanks for any help!

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300980 tn?1194933000
Welcome to our Forum.  I'll try to help but there may be some information missing which would help to clarify my suggestions for you and your wife.  In general, the tests for STDs are VERY good and highly reliable.  My questions for you include whether or not it was your urine test that was positive for chlamydia or a blood test.  Chlamydial urine tests are very accurate, the blood tests are often incorrect and do not indicate recent infection.  

As for your wife's situation, is it that she has never had sex with others before you or that that she has not has sex since you began your relationship?   In addition, I would need to have more detail about her tests.  Test, and particularly blood tests for herpes have a number of possible problems.  

With his as background, let’s begin to work through your questions:
1.  Typically the tests performed in Hong Kong in commercial laboratories  are high quality tests which are quite similar to those used in North America.

2.  This would be most unusual.  The tests for herpes occasionally fail to be positive in someone with infection but this is unusual and it is more likely that your wife's results are either incorrect or reflect infection acquired from someone else.  Syphilis test tend be reliable but something does not sound correct about the situation you describe.  

3.  Unlikely.

4.  Very unlikely.

5.  Her situation does not completely make sense.  My advice would be for both of you to go together to a health care provider and to both get tested in each others’ presence to resolve these issues.

I hope this comment helps.  EWH
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Avatar universal
Thanks for your reply.

I tested positive for Chlamidya via urine test.  I was experiencing some symptoms I think are related to that disease.  After my positive test I was given azithromycin and the symptoms have pretty much cleared up over the past week.

My wife submitted both blood and urine for her tests, though we're unaware of which specimens were used for which tests.  

She was given STD tests in 2001, 2005 and earlier in 2010 and came up negative each time.  I am unaware of the methodology of each test, only the result. She did have sexual partners prior to our marriage in 2001 but has had no other partners since.  In 2007 she had a precancerous HPV which was frozen off. This traumatized her to a degree and she has continued with paps at 6 month intervals since.  

As for her test results now, her doctor tells her the following:

Syphilis: She tested positive, but they want more testing done because something in her blood may be causing a false positive.  Does this sound familiar?

Herpes: She tested positive, and the doctor says the infection could be years old.  They want further evaluation to determine the nature of the herpes and how long she's had it for.  Does this make any sense?  

Again, I tested negative using the herpes HerpesSelect blood test and a syphilis blood test.

HIV: She and I both tested negative, but her doctor says that since my unprotected sex occurred in late September we would both need to be tested in March to fully close the door on this issue.  Do you concur with this assessment?

I read that it may take months for syphilis and herpes to show up in my system for tests.  Is it possible I contracted and passed on the diseases to her before they show up in my system?  

Thanks again for your input.  

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300980 tn?1194933000
Syphilis.  Two tests are typically needed to diagnose syphilis.  A single test can be falsely positive.  If your wife got syphilis from you, your test woul be positive.  

Herpes.  This does not make sense.  The HSV tests have frequent false positves in low risk persons.  Your wife needs to be tested with an IgG (not IgM), type-specific test such as the HerpeSelect.  The results are reported as numbers and it is important to consider the number (strenght of the positivity) in intereting the result.  

I would believe your test results.  It is rare for these tests to not give a postive result within two months of last exposure although in a minority of situations it can take up to 6 months for the HerpeSelect to become positve.  If you have not had symptoms suggesting HSV however, I would bet that you did not acquire HSV while seperated from your wife.

At the current time, HIV results can be considered conclusive when the test is taken more than 8 weeks since the last exposure.   EWH
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