[Question #5201] Herpes 2 Question

25 months ago
I am in a monogamous relationship and have been for 8 years (and was in another monogamous relationship before that).  I recently started having symptoms of herpes and felt like I had the flu.  After a week of confusion and painful genitals, I saw my ob/gyn, who did a blood test for herpes.  It came back positive for herpes 2.  My husband was tested and his result came back positive for herpes 1 but negative for herpes 2.  

My ob/gyn told me that the blood test showed a recent infection.  How could I have contracted herpes 2 if my husband's test was positive for herpes 1 but not herpes 2?  I have not had any sexual contact with anyone.  I had a pap smear in January, and testosterone pellets inserted into the cushy part of my butt in February (which I get every 3 months) but other than that, no genital contact with anyone.  

My doctor said that herpes 2 would not have been dormant for years in my body before the outbreak - that I had to have contracted it within weeks of having flu-like symptoms.

I have already had 2 outbreaks in a matter of several weeks.  I'm taking Valtrex when there is an outbreak but do not want to take it every day for the rest of my life - who knows what long-term impact that could have on my body.  I am surprised and miserable.  I'm almost 60 and have avoided it my whole life until now - when I'm married and in a monogamous relationship, and my husband's test was negative.  He's had 2 tests and both were negative.  Should I have another blood test?  Maybe the first one was wrong.

How long does the virus survive once out in the open?  I wonder if I touched something with it somehow and then touched myself?  But I definitely don't remember anything like that.  

How could I have contracted it?  

Thank you.
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
25 months ago
I worry that you may have had an IgM test rather than the appropriate IgG test. 
Do you have any concerns that your husband has recently had sex with anyone else?  It can take up to 12 weeks for an antibody test to become positive after infection.
And I totally and completely disagree with your doctor that you couldn't have had this lying dormant for years -you absolutely could have!
And let me ask you - has any swab testing been done of your outbreaks?  And if you did have an IgG test, what is the number associated with your positive result?  The answers to these questions will help me to help you

Terri
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25 months ago
I have had 2 blood tests to confirm.  The first results (March 7) are as follows:

Herpes Simplex 1 IgG  <0.2
Herpes Simplex 2 IgG  >8.0
Herpes Simplex IgM   3.46

The second results (March 29):
HSV 1 IgG  17.80
HSV 2 IgG   3.90

It is highly unlikely that my husband was with anyone else, and he doesn't have Herpes 2 (although it has not been 12 weeks, as you noted).  I guess I have had both in my body and they just appeared for the first time?  I don't even know from whom I would have contracted them unless it was over 2 decades ago, and even then there are very few possibilities.  That is so strange.  

Thank you for your help.

Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
Terri Warren, RN, Nurse Practitioner
25 months ago
So the most likely explanation is that you have established infection.  Why you are having outbreaks now and not before I cannot say but I wonder if somehow the testosterone treatment is triggering them?  The IgM comes back from time to time so it has nothing to do with new infection in your situation because you have a robust HSV 2 IgG result.  If you want to reduce the risk of infecting your husband, you may wish to consider daily antiviral medicine.

Terri
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