[Question #124] Herpes antibodies

38 months ago
Hello I recently recieved the results of some blood work that I had done at my gynecologist. The results showed I was positive for herpes 1 antibodies and negative for herpes 2 . The doctor had explained that what that means is that I at some point I was infected with herpes and that my body made antibodies to fight the infection. I have never experienced any symptoms of herpes. Is it possible for me to have herpes and never show symptoms? 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
38 months ago
Hi Jasmine,
Well, good that you test negative for HSV 2.  The test only misses about 2-3 infections out of 100 people who have HSV 2.  The positive HSV 1 result does indicate that you were, at some point, infected with herpes simplex virus type 1.  This is most frequently the cause of cold sores on the lip or in the nose but it can also cause genital herpes infection, usually transmitted by receiving oral sex from someone who is infected orally with that virus.  If you have received oral sex and have never had a cold sore, it is not possible to know for certain if your HSV 1 infection is oral or genital.  Please let me know what other questions you might have.

Terri
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38 months ago
Thank you for your response! I do have some more concerns . Since I have not experienced any symptoms of herpes yet is it possible for me to infect others while not showing any sypmtoms ?do I need to start telling future partners of my infection? Also should I take medicine that would help prevent me from having a herpes outbreak? 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
38 months ago
It is possible to infect others even when you have no sores, yes, but the majority of the US population already has HSV 1 and the tests for it aren't great so it's hard to identify all infections.  Have you ever in your whole life had a cold sore on your lip or in your nose?  Have you asked your family about this when you were a child?  As for telling partners, that is sort of individual with HSV 1 thought I personally think it would be good to bring up.  Not all experts agree on this  My concern is that if you somehow infect a partner, and they discover that you knew you were infected, trust is an issue probably from then on for some people.  You could always start out the conversation with asking if they have ever had a cold sore and if they say yes you could disclose that you also have this virus.  One more thing:  have you seen the test results?  Did they have a number for the positive HSV 1 test?  If yes, what was it?  And do you know if the test was an IgG or IgM test?  These are important questions I hope you can answer for me.

Terri
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37 months ago
Hi Terri thank you so much for gettimg back to me . I just got a copy of my results and I think they used IGG .Im having trouble understanding the results . Is it possible for me to send you a picture of it or email my results to you? Best regards jasmine 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
37 months ago
We aren't set up for pictures here.  In this case, that would be helpful.  Let me ask if we can arrange this for you and get back to you.
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Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
37 months ago
And Jasmine, I'm sorry to be a while answering your post.  We've been camping in a place that we thought had internet but didn't.  I have asked the webmasters about posting your results for me to see.  I'll get back to you as soon as I hear.

Terri
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37 months ago
Hi Terri I recieved and email from the site with a link to send over pictures of my results . Please let me know if you have touble viewing them . I just want a clear understanding of my results and how I can best manage my disease to prevent symptoms as best I can . I have never had any visible symptoms and I am very scared of  giving it to someone else . I am at this point terrified of ever having a relationship with anyone .  I greatly appreciate your responses  to my questions and concerns . I want to be as knowledgable as possible about herpes. Best regards jasmine 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
37 months ago
Good morning Jasmine,
I have received your test results and you are negative for HSV 2 and positive for HSV 1.  Although your HSV 1 index value is in the low positive range, I think there is a very good possibility statistically that you do have HSV 1 infection.  We have no idea where it is on your body if you have not had a cold sore ever in your life, I mean even as a child.  Is that correct?  Have you been the receiver of oral sex (someone's mouth on your genitals?)  Most genital HSV 1 infections arise in this way.  It is unlikely to acquire HSV 1 through intercourse though possible.  If you get a sore in either the genital or oral area, please have it checked out and swab tested immediately.  Until then, it is not possible to know where you are infected.  However, the majority of the US Population has HSV 1 infection so it is likely when you do have sex with someone in the future, they will also have HSV 1 and you will not pass it back and forth.    I can't really guide you on behaviors that will put others at risk since we don't know where you infection is.  You could do a few things here:  you could obtain the herpes western blot, just to be certain you have HSV 1. You could take medication daily to reduce the risk of infection people, just in general, because yes, you can shed virus even when you have no symptoms.  Or you could just wait it out and see if someone you meet also has HSV 1 and then you won't have to worry about it.  That might require a partner getting tested as the majority of people who have HSV 1 don't know it.  Let me repeat that this is a very common virus infecting well over half the US population.  Try to intellectual ramp down your feeling from "terrified" to "concerned"  As you think, so shall you feel.  Your thoughts most certainly shape you emotions.

Terri
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