[Question #2956] Testing for HSV-2 Years After Potential Exposure

41 months ago
Hello Doctors,

The last time I had sex was...3~5(?) years ago. One of those times I had unprotected anal sex with an escort...twice. Because I'm male and dumb. Since then, I have never had any symptoms or any anomalous 'features' on/in/around my genitals. I'm about to enter into a long-term relationship (at least I'm hoping it's long-term) and want a risk assessment so I can mitigate harming my girlfriend. I have a prescription for a 3-day supply of Valtrex to treat HSV-1 around my lip (occurs <3 a year). I'm planning on testing for HSV-2 tomorrow, and again 6 months later. Also planning on getting a script for take-this-drug-till-I-die supply of Valtrex if I was tested positive for HSV-2.

This question sounds dumb as I'm typing it, but will the test detect HSV-2 antibodies years after potential exposure and with zero symptoms? And if I may, ask 1 more question...when I have an outbreak of HSV-1, and my toothbrush touches a blister, what is the likelihood that I will 'infect' the other side of my lip?

Thank you.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
41 months ago
Yes, the test will detect infection that occurred years ago, even if you have no symptoms. You would be wise to eliminate the term exposure from your vocabulary about herpes infections. You're either infected an infectious to others or not infected. There is no need to retest to six months later. You are 3 to 5 years out from last possible infection so testing a single time Will be adequate. If you test and your index value is between 1.1 and 3.5, you will need a confirmatory test as there are some false positives in that range

. The herpes virus is already in all of the nerves that supply your facial area so touching a blister with your toothbrush Will not transfer the virus to a different nerve.

Terri
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