[Question #1281] Bi and just found out I have HSV1

49 months ago

Back in May I was going to become sexually involved with someone who wanted to make sure I had no STDs. I'm a 56 year old bi male who has had maybe 10 different sexual  partners in my life, both male and female. I've never had any symptoms of any kind so I was sure I'd be negative on the 10 test panel that was used. So I was very surprised when it came back as positive for HSV1 IGG Type Specific with a 3.32H, whatever that means. I waited until September and tested again thinking it was wrong. It still came back positive for HSV1, this time with a 4.16 H.

Because it was HSV1 I couldn't get a consultation from the lab. They only do that for HSV2. I actually have a few questions related to this.

1. Why the variance in ranges, from 3.32 to 4.16 and what does that mean?

2. The person I was to become sexually involved with is obviously worried. Can they become infected if they perform oral sex on me? I've read they could become infected if I did the same, even if he wore a condom.

As I've stated, I've never recently had any cold sores or open sores around my mouth at any time. However I do remember as a kid I used to get cold sores quite frequently. Is it possible I became infected then?


Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
49 months ago
About 56% of the US population is infected with HSV 1, the most common cause of cold sores on the lips and in the nose and possibly chin.  And because you had cold sores as a young person, that's why you have HSV 1 antibody .  Once you are infected with HSV 1, you always are, even if you haven't had a cold sore lately.  Has the person you are becoming involved with ever in their life had a cold sore on their lip or face or nose?  If yes, then you are both infected and no need to worry about getting it in a new location on your body or theirs - that would be highly unusual.  There is no risk of them giving you oral sex - your infection is oral.  If they are indeed not infected with HSV 1, you giving them oral sex presents some small risk of infecting them from your mouth.  If he wants more protection, using a condom for you giving oral sex is a terrific idea for more protection.  Please let me know what other questions you might have, OK?

Terri
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49 months ago

Thank you Terri. And I appreciate the quick response.

From the research I read online, I came numerous mentions of contacting HSV1 as a child, from just having contact with adults who have it, and not by anything sexual. I also wasn't sure about the results I got back, the 3.32 and then that changing to a 4.16. In between the two tests I had no sexual activity with anyone so I'm wondering why it went up. Is there a 'low' risk versus a 'high' risk based on these results? For instance if my results were 20.5 or something, would that mean I'm at a higher risk of infecting someone else?


Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
49 months ago
oh sorry, I didn't address the variation.  Those variation are completely normal and expected.  The results are always compared to a control value and that value always varies, so your results will always vary.  Even if your index value was 20, it would have no meaning in terms of infectiousness to other - none.
Most people who acquire HSV 1 orally as a child get it from having an adult with a cold sore kissing them - nothing sexual at all!

Terri
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