[Question #4405] Herpes

29 months ago
A few years ago I was tested for herpes, and IgM AB screen came back as "detected".  I was told I have herpes.  Recently I got tested by 2 different labs, and both HSV1 & 2 (IGG) came back negative.  What does that mean for me?  The IgM test was never repeated.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
29 months ago
The IgM is terrible test and has many many false positives - in my experience, probably 90% of the positive IgM results are false positives as they are not followed by a positive IgG.  In some diseases, the IgM antibody comes up first and then the IgG, but that is not so true with herpes - they both come up around the same time.  But the test is highly flawed and the CDC recommends that it NOT be used to try to diagnose herpes because it is so flawed.  I hope you can move past this poor test .  Having said that, the HSV IgG test misses 30% of HSV 1 and about 8% of HSV 2, compared the gold standard western blot so it's not perfect either but a lot better than the IgM!

Terri
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29 months ago
Thank you Terri!  Does that mean I can assume I don't have herpes?  And how can I do the western blot test?  Do you know if it's available through online ordering?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
29 months ago
It means you don't have herpes within the statistical limits I described above for the Igg test.  The western blot is NOT available through online ordering, no.  You can work with your own provider and the University of Washington to get this test or I can order it for you through our website, westoverheights.com.  It's expensive - through me, $314 for the consult and the test.   In addition, you would need to pay someone to draw your blood (we have labs that we work with on this) and to ship it to Seattle.

Terri
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29 months ago
Thank you Terri, and if I can please ask for your advice..  My IGG test always showed in the negative range, less than .9, even when IgM came back as detected, and the same when I tested recently at two different labs, one of which was Quest.  I am in my 50s, was not sexually active for a few years, never had an outbreak of any kind,  and now trying to get back into dating.  Would you still recommend doing western blot for me, as it does seem rather expensive and hard to perform?
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
29 months ago
I can't really make that call for you.  I need you just to look at the numbers that I've provided for you and see if you think you are comfortable with the limits of the IgG test.  Everyone has a different level  of need for reassurance about their herpes status.

Terri
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