[Question #4468] Oral Herpes Testing/Dating

27 months ago
Hello there-

Had a few question regarding testing for HSV1 & 2. 

So I unfortunately struggle with a lot of anxiety and guilt, therefore I find myself constantly testing for both herpes viruses. I have about 4-5 times in the past year. It’s becoming exhausting and expensive but I’m finding that I need to be able to tell partners for sure whether or not I have HSV 1 or 2 antibodies in my system. Ive only had small pimple type bumps and tiny red dots appear usually that disappear in 2-4 days in my genital region but I instantly assume it could be herpes so I get tested. Every Igg test I’ve ever taken has been negative for both types every time. I usually wait around 12 weeks after being intimate/kissing someone to test based on what I’ve read online. 

1. Is 12 weeks enough or should I be waiting 16 weeks to test for HSV1 & 2 antibodies?

2. My ex thinks she got HSV1 as a baby. She never had a cold sore while we were together. The last time I kissed her was 2 weeks ago.  Never had any symptoms other than occasional sores inside my mouth that I just feel are canker sores. Ive gotten them a lot since I was a kid. Should I be testing again after 12/16 since exposure weeks since she thinks she carries the virus? 

3. I’ve never had a cold sore on my lip, I just get nervous when I get a bump/sore on my tongue. I woke up 6 weeks ago with what I thought was an inflamed tasted bud, it was painful and then formed a little ring around it before going away completely. Should I be holding off from dating/kissing until I know for sure if I now have the virus or should I just be telling potential kissing partners that i am unaware if I am a carrier to give them a heads up?

Thanks in advanced! 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
27 months ago
1.  12 weeks is fine
2.   I think you don't need to keep testing.  If indeed you are negative and a grown up, you would very likely have symptoms that you would recognize if you became infected with either virus.  The older one is, the more likely they are to have symptoms with a primary infection when they acquire it. 
3.  The other thing is that the IgG test only picks up 70% of HSV 1 compared to the gold standard western blot anyway so repeated testing is not that useful.  The thing on your tongue sounds absolutely nothing at all like herpes.

It sounds to me as though you have developed a bit of an Obsessive Compulsive disorder regarding herpes.  It would be beneficial for you to think seriously about this possibility and to consider seeking the guidance of a therapist that does what we call cognitive behavior therapy.  And I would advise doing this earlier rather than later so this does not really get out of hand and start governing your life more than it already is.

Terri
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27 months ago
Hey there-

Thanks for the reply. I do already see a psychologist for this but I just still struggle with what is actually considered safe practice when I do have some sort of “symptom” that sets off an alarm in my head. I’ve never had anything that resembles a blister. Do you think it would be of benefit for me to do the western blot or no at this point? I feel like I’ll start obsessing over taking that test. Considering I’ve tested probably six times for this, both HSV 1 and 2, in the past 16 months. And would it make sense to tell new people before I kiss them if my ex had it as a kid? Since they potentially exposed me I feel like my brain is telling me to tell people I could potentially expose them. I’m just a bit confused as to what is medically and morally right to do. I do work on being okay with the idea of it with my therapist, but just some clarification would be helpful. 

Thanks again. 
27 months ago
Also, is the igg for HSV2 also 70% accurate like HSV 1 or is it more accurate?? 
27 months ago
I am 26, by the way. 
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
27 months ago
The IgG is the one that is 70% sensitive for HSV 1 compared to the western blot.
I personally do not think that you need to disclose to anyone that you might have HSV 1 based on an ex partner MAYBE having a cold sore as a child.  How long ago did you last have any contact with this ex partner?  If 12 weeks ago or more, you could do the blot and if negative test no more and worry no more.  But then I wonder if you kiss new people if you wouldn't start worrying all over again? 

Terri
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27 months ago
That kissing enounter was 2 weeks ago. But we had been together for 8 months prior and I had tested twice while we were dating with negative results. I had a couple canker sores since then but nothing really else. I could do the western blot in 12 weeks but I’m not entirely sure that it’s even worth it if I my only symptoms have been like random sores in my mouth or a bump on my tongue. I guess I could order it if you feel that is best for me? I feel like In my mind I want to test one last time in 10 more weeks from now for peace of mind. I just started hanging with a new girl and am not really sure what to tell her. Haven’t kissed her yet but I’m hesitant because of this whole situation. I know a lot of this is my ocd speaking, but I just wish I could be confident moving forward. 


Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
27 months ago
I only suggest the blot to give you greater reassurance, not because I think there is a significant risk here.  I often use the blot to provide more profound peace of mind.  Not because I think you have a big risk here.  I don't believe you need to tell the new person anything about herpes except perhaps that you have been tested and are negative.

Terri
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