[Question #3636] HSV Test Results Confusion. What do I trust?

36 months ago
Hi, 

I tested positive for HSV-1 back in December. I had no symptoms. Was very confused. I will say it was at a cheap clinic (didn't have health insurance at the time) where I don't know which kind of blood test they used. I have had shingles before at the age of 19, I am 26 now. Btw, tested in August and December for all other STD's nothing else was positive. Al negative. 

Later down the road in February I started to have symptoms of Herpes. Went to a better urgent Care center and was tested. They took a culture and took my blood. Test results came back Negative and not isolated. Viral culture and DNA PCR test.
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 They then determined it was "folliculitis" after bringing second doctor in and he said to the original doctor I could see where you would get confused. The folliculitis kept coming back.  Was taking keflex for like a month. I will add for the entire month of March where I was dealing with it coming back I was beyond stressed with work, working 10-12 hour days for 7 days a week. Losing tons of sleep. Ended up getting crazy stomach issues where I also got labeled with IBS from my doctor. 

When it kept coming back they said see a dermatologist. He looked at me and I was concerned about there still being an underlying rash of very dull red skin, small patch. The dermatologist didn't seem concerned at all. Told me not to worry. Told him my concerns showed him the DNA PCR results, he has never heard of it. Said he would look into it more. Called back and said from his peers sounds like DNA PCR test is very trustworthy and I should be in good shape. But I still am dealing with itching all around gential area, pubic area and shaft and anus at times. Almost feels like a dull diaper  rash. The red rash on my base of shaft is still there but very very faint more faint pink color. I'm obviously still worried about it because I've been a head case about it. Even having discomfort in my urethra, no burning during urination but just slight itchiness at times and discomfort. 
36 months ago
I have the test results I can show you a picture of the DNA PCR results.
36 months ago
DNA PCR Serum test.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
36 months ago
So the PCR is a test that should be done as a swab, not as a blood test.  Herpes is very very rarely in blood - it is a disease of the skin and nerves.  How unfortunate that these clinicians were unaware of the proper use of the PCR test.  It's great for swabbing lesions because it is far more sensitive AND stable than the culture but the culture can certainly also pick up virus.  But I would not expect herpes to last for so long as this condition has for you. 
Have you tried any antifungal creams in the area, like Lotrimin?  Sometimes men and women can get a mild skin fungal infection in the genital area that can e persistent and actually aggravated by long term antibiotic use.

Terri
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35 months ago
Thank you for the reply, the rash has subsided. However I am concerned with with genital itching that has been bothering me for weeks (3-4) and also the urethra discomfort. I can best describe as an inflamed urethra type feeling and slight itch to the urethra very occasionally. Then also have a little pain in my penis after sex and fullness type feeling in my lower abs/pelvis area that is sometimes aggravating but not overbearing.

I have been tested for all Chlamydia and Gonorrhea and they are negative as recently as 2 weeks ago. So I am just confused, the PA in the office said it looks like a yeast infection and prescribed antifungal medication and fluconazloe. I don't think it really helped.  It just feels like this is an STD but there are no positive tests.

Any idea what is going on?
35 months ago
I should say that it doesn't burn to urinate and there is no discharge that I see. Only trouble really is when I finish urinating that there always seems to be some that doesn't fully come out. I went to the urologist and he said there is nothing wrong with my prostate or bladder.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
35 months ago
I'm glad you were able to see a urologist to help clarify your situation.  Nothing that you have described concerns me for herpes here.  A positive HSV 1 result could be from oral infection or genital infection - without a lesion to evaluated, we cannot know the location of your infection.  If you have ever had a cold sore on your lip or in your nose, that is why you are HSV 1 positive - think back if you can.  About half the US population has HSV 1 infection so you are not alone.

Terri
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