[Question #4238] Herpes Blood Test

29 months ago
Hi - I've been married for 20 years and with one partner. I'm in the process of getting a divorce and asked the GYN to run an STD screen at my last regular checkup. She called me today to tell me that I tested positive for herpes. I've never had any symptoms, although I've read that they can look like an ingrown hair. My soon to be ex husband swears that he has not cheated on me but said that he had genital warts frozen before we were together. I think it's possible he did cheat on me but I'm surprised that neither of us have any had any outbreaks. He does get blisters on the back of his knee (not genital or inner thigh) sometimes but often years apart. I have a similar spot on the top of my arm but have had it less frequently than him and did not think about what it was - thought maybe a spider bite. I have not had it in years. Anyway, my doctor was kind, but I'm freaking out. I'm also reading that many tests are inaccurate and wondering if I should get tested again and what type of test. I'm wishing I wasn't tested at all. Any advice is appreciated.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
29 months ago
OK, I need a little more information.  What sort of test was it (IgM or IgG) - only IgG is helpful and reliable.  What was the number associated with the positive result? It is called an index value.  And what type were you positive for - HSV 1 or HSV 2? These are important questions and you may need to call the office to get it.
I am concerned about the blisters on the back of his knee.  Herpes can show up there.  What do the symptoms on your arm look like?  Herpes would likely present as blisters on a reddened base. 

I know this might be unhappy news to hear and I do understand  how you might wish you had not done the test.   but think of it in a different way - if you truly do have herpes, wouldn't you rather find out through a test than infecting someone else and finding out that way?  Besides, if you know you have this infection, you can do things to reduce the risk of transmission like taking daily antiviral medicine.  If you were undiagnosed, you wouldn't be doing anything to try to protect future partners. 

It also might be helpful for your husband to be tested as well.

Terri
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29 months ago
Hi - so as a follow up after reading these boards, I asked my doctor what test was given and the result.  She said it was the IGG test and the result was 18. ...so I'm guessing that's a positive. 

Please let me know if there's any chance at all these bug bite things cause a result.
Also can you run through the likelyhood of me giving it to someone else?  I'm more upset about that than about me having it.
Finally, please let me know if I can receive oral sex without transmitting it to someone else (i'm a female).

29 months ago
Hi - I think we were typing at the same time - it's HSV 2.  Yes both the back of his knee and my arm had blisters with a reddened base.
29 months ago
Sorry, advice on taking an antiviral please. My doctor didn't recommend one - I guess because I haven't had symptoms, but I'd rather take a medication and never see it. Sorry for all of the replies.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
29 months ago
I do think it is likely that he is infected in which case you will not need treatment.  If he does get an IgG test and he is negative, you could take 500 mg once a day to reduce the risk of transmission.  It will also reduce the likelihood of  getting an outbreak in the future.

Terri
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29 months ago
Hi Terri,

Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately, I just got divorced so this infection is affecting me differently than if we were both infected.  I know you get a lot of posts...do you mind reading the string then letting me know the answers to these questions?  Thank you so much.  Stressed!

My IGG value according to my doctor was 18.

Neither my ex-husband and I ever had breakouts on our genitals. He had the bug bite type mark on the back of his knee and I had it on my arm (on and off for years). Do you think this was a herpes outbreak? They were blisters with a reddened base and hot to the touch. If yes this is likely herpes, I've read on other posts that once herpes appears on one part of the body, it's not likely to appear in another place...does this mean if it's on my arm, I will likely never have a genital breakout?

But even though it's been on my arm, because I tested IGG +18, I can still give it to someone genitally?

It's been years since I've seen it on my arm and I've been married 20 years so I've probably had this forever.   I've read that the longer you have it, the less shedding you have and less risk of transmission.  Is that true?

Also can you run through the likelyhood of me giving it to someone else?  I am not currently on medication since I just found out about it and have never had outbreaks,  but I will ask my doctor about prescribing the lessen the chance of transmission. I'm more upset about that than about me having it.

Finally, please let me know if I can receive oral sex without transmitting it to someone else (i'm a female).

Thank you. If i need to buy another question, please let me know. Your boards have way more information than my doctor.





Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
28 months ago
The only way to know if this thing on your arm is herpes or not is to have a swab test done when you have an out break.
Almost always, when someone is HSV-2 positive by antibody test at an accurate level, they have the infection genitally.
If you are having sex with someone who is uninfected about twice per week using daily antiviral medicine and them using condoms regularly, the risk of transmission in a year is about 1%. That means if there were 100 couples in this situation, one male would become infected. It would be very unlikely for you to transmit the virus to the mouth of someone else giving you oral sex because HSV-2 does not like the oral area and does not often in fact someone in that area. If it did happen, it would look just like a cold sore.

I don't know how I missed this post but I'm certainly sorry.

Terri

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