[Question #3495] Herpes transmission

34 months ago
I am a male and I’ve been in a monogamous marriage for 15 years and am recently getting a divorce.  My spouse had genital herpes from a previous relationship when we got married, although I’ve never known her to have an outbreak.  I’ve never had any lesions, blisters or the like.  I have felt some pain in the groin area a couple of years ago, maybe at the 10 year mark.  About the same time I started to develop an occasional cold sore, very minor,  like a small pimple on the edge of my lip with a tingling sensation, so I’m sure it’s probably HSV1 but I don’t know a lot about this stuff except for reading this forum for the last couple of days.   I’m concerned I might have both oral and genital herpes so I feel I should be tested before I get into any other relationship going forward.   What do you think?  I’ve never had to worry about this but it is now on the top of mind.  Thanks. 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
34 months ago
One of the reasons to get an antibody test is having sex with someone who has HSV 2.  So I think it would be perfectly reasonable for you to get an IGG type specific antibody test to determine your HSV 2 status.  If you have had cold sores and you acquire HSV 2 genitally, you will be less likely to get symptoms if you acquire HSV 2.  So good reason to be tested as you move on with your dating life.

Terri
---
34 months ago
Do you feel it’s a very high probability that I have HSV2 genitaly being that I was in a 15 year relationship?   I would think so.  Also, How can I get tested?  Is this something I order online?  And do I get tested for other things as well?  Thanks 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
34 months ago
It's difficult to know - was she taking antiviral medicine for her herpes?  The transmission rate from female to male is about 4% per year without condoms or antiviral medicine so no, it's not a for sure thing that you are infected.
You can order your own IgG antibody test online, yes, several services offer this.  Whether you get a full STI screen would be up to you - do you have concerns about her having had other sex partners during your marriage?  If you are going to start dating again, it might be good to be able to present negative STI test results to a new partner?

Terri
---
34 months ago
No, I don’t have concerns about her having other sex partners.   What is the transmission rate from male to female?  Can I get a full STI test from online also?  Thanks
 
34 months ago
I just got results back from a 10 panel test  and everything was negative.  Negative for HSV1 and HSV2 along with other STD’s they tested for.  How accurate are these tests?   How reliable?  I went through STDCheck, I called them and they sent me to a local testing center called LabCore and they took blood and a urine sample.  I really can’t believe it all came back negative especially since I have an occasional very small pimple on the edge of my upper lip that definitely has a tingling sensation. I even put Abreva on it and it responds well to that, so I assumed it was cold sore related, maybe it was my paranoia about herpes knowing my wife had it, although I had never seen it and she has never had any outbreaks that I know of in the past 14 years.  Although I have never had a cold sore like I see most people have on their lip when it looks big and painful like a blister, I have never had anything like that.   I also have never had a genital breakout in any way. I just assumed after many years of unprotected it was inevitable.  
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
34 months ago
The IgG test that you had done misses 30% of HSV 1 infections compared to the gold standard western blot so if you have had symptoms consistent with HSV 1 on your lip, I would ignore the result and go with the belief that these are cold sores.  Do you actually know if your wife had HSV 1 or 2 genitally?  A person could have either in the genital area.  She might not even know.  The IgG test only misses 8% of HSV 2 so that's pretty accurate.

Terri
---