[Question #2284] STDs and low risk but why not testing

44 months ago
Hello Experts,
I really took you advice and started taking counselling for my exposure. And also started having unprotected sex with my wife. But I do have some questions.
1. Dr. Hook said my risk is very low and he doesn't even recommend testing. But the only concern or question I have is like dr. Hunt said my risk is very low I agree but it's not zero right? And without being tested there is no way I can be certain that I do not have STDs. But in general, why is it not recommended tested even when someone has very low exposure? I mean this is how the diseases are spread right? I am not criticizing anyone. I spoke to 3 doctors and all 3 said the same thing. No need of testing with very low exposure.

Does it mean that doctors are being conservative in telling patients that risk is very low only so that they won't have any trouble from their patients? 

I know in my case even if I acquired GHSV1 it would still be very slight risk that I infect my wife. Even though it's rare it's not impossible. 

And one final question. Can you tell me do you think I contracted herpes with my exposure ( she had no lessions and I had no symptoms in 5 weeks) without being conservative. I won't hold you accountable for anything. I know doctors will always say there is only less than 1% chances or even lesser so that they won't have any trouble from their patients. But like i said, I won't hold anyone accountable if at all anything happens to me. 

Thanks. Also like Dr. Hunt and RN Warren suggested I started taking counselling but always had this question in my mind and would like to clear it. 

Thanks once again for your services and I can imagine how many people are in same boat like me. You guys are true stress busters. If everything goes good with me I would like to donate some money to your services.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
44 months ago
I'm afraid you are looking for a level of reassurance that nobody can give and is simply unavailable. However, the chance you have GHSV1 is probably far less than the chance you'll be struck by lightning someday. The main reason you shouldn't be tested is that the HSV blood tests are far from perfect. The chance of a false result is a lot higher than the chance you caught herpes.  If negative, it would not prove you didn't get it; and if positive, is could well be false.

Also, you apparently don't understand some basic facts about GHSV1. About half of infected people with an initial outbreak never have another. Among those with any recurrent outbreaks at all, it's usually just one or two in the next 1-2 years, then none. Also, shedding of the virus without symptoms is uncommon. (All of this is very different than GHSV2.) One result is that sexual transmission of HSV1 -- i.e. genital to genital -- is rare. I have never seen a case; every one I've ever heard of was acquired by oral sex. Last I heard, Ms. Warren's and Dr. Hook's experiences were similar. In other words, even if you have it, your wife is at little risk of ever catching it.

You have a pessimistic and inaccurate perception of what doctors tell theri paitnets. It is wrong that "doctors will always say there is only less than 1% chances or even lesser so that they won't have any trouble from their patients." To the extent some may do that with some patients, I can assure you that Ms. Warren, Dr. Hook and I never do this, either on this forum or with our own patients. Never. You have had honest replies, to the extent we are able given the available data and our personal experiences, from all three of us.

Thank you for the offer to make a donation in support of STD prevention and the forum's services. The sponsor of this forum, the American Sexual Health Association, is the premier nongovernmental STD prevention organization in the US, perhaps worldwide. The website has a link to facilitate donations. Visit www.ashasexualhealth.org.

Regards--  HHH, MD

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44 months ago
sorry doctor, I didnt mean to offend anyone with my statement. I was just curious that all the doctors i spoke to said no need of testing but no one ever said you did not get herpes. I was just curious about the difference or gap and meaning between "No need of testing" and "you do not have herpes". Also if IGG test is not so perfect why does CDC recommend it for herpes testing. I mean they should have the data about accuracy of a test before even they approve it right? Why cant they just make western blot as standard and only testing for herpes. 

And thanks for your assurance about my GHSV1. The only thing that concerns me a lot is 50% of the new gential herpes are due to HSV1. This number is bringing chills in me. Every tingle in my groin or penis is scaring me (although i had them before my encounter too). 50% is a lot and thats what scares me. Apart from that I am totally fine with no symptoms, no sleep loss, no apetite loss.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
44 months ago
Since you have asked these questions in a new thread, this one is being closed.  Please note the forum does not permit repeated questions on the same topic or exposure. Today's question being your fourth, it will have to be your last; future new questions about this exposure, testing, and your fears about HIV, herpes, or other STDs will be deleted without reply and without refund of the posting fee. This policy is based on compassion, not criticism, and is designed to reduce temptations to keep paying for questions with obvious answers. In addition, continued answers tend to prolong users' anxieties. Finally, such questions have little educational value for other users, one of the forum's main purposes. I trust you will understand.

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