Jump to content
  • Want to be a part of a supportive community? Join the H Opp community for free.

    Welcome to the Herpes Opportunity Support Forum! We are a supportive and positive group to help you discover and live your Opportunity. Together, we can shed the shame and embrace vulnerability and true connection. Because who you are is more important than what you have. Get your free e-book and handouts here: https://www.herpesopportunity.com/lp/ebook

Negative Swab Test

Recommended Posts

Has anyone had lesions and gotten them swabbed and it comes back negative for HSV1 and HSV2?

Doctor said visually it looked like HSV but I haven’t had another outbreak since the first one (2 years ago) and when they did swab the lesion it came back negative for both?

trying to navigate if this is normal...doctors keep saying blood tests are unreliable and just assume I have it?

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

Hi! @Blue1982

I am so sorry about that... getting doctors to order a blood test is absurdly difficult, because often times insurance companies lobby doctors not to order tests to the companies can save money (instead of paying for tests). However, YOU are the patient. You are entitled to receive a blood test, especially if it is a STI screening. Yes, culture swabs are very accurate, but blood work can be a wonderful indicator of herpes antibodies. 

I recommend finding a doctor who will order the blood work for you. Look in your insurance network (if you have insurance), or find a doctor who accepts Medicare or Medicaid. Call the office before hand and explain your situation of how you have not been able to get a doctor to write you a blood test script. 

I pray it goes well!  You deserve to have doctors who respect your wishes, and they should be happy you are taking charge of your health and advocate for yourself! 

Stay strong! Sending happiness and blessings your way! 🌄🌻

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment

Thanks for everyone who responded…I got blood drawn on Tuesday, waiting for results…

.it was the “HSV 1/2 AB (IGM) IFA W/RFL TO TITER (REFELAB)” test…..does anyone know how accurate that test is? And typically how long did it take to get your results back?



  • Like 1
Link to comment

@Blue1982 Hello!

I am so happy you got the blood work done. 

So I did some research, and on the Quest Diagnostics page, it says that the sample of blood taken has a stability of 7 days at room temperature, 14 days at refrigerated temperature, and 30 days frozen. So, you definitely will get the results prior to 30 days. However, I doubt it will take that long. Probably a week or a little more! However, you can always call the office you got the test at and ask them the estimated time of results.

This sheet I found is actually really helpful in talking about the test and accuracy. I hope it helps! http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/pdfs/HSV_Diagnostcs_Providers.pdf

This talks about detection and second testing of the blood (there are two stages; if something is detected in the first test, it is put through a second round of testing, it seems!) https://education.questdiagnostics.com/faq/HSVIgM

I hope this helps! However, I am not a doctor. Maybe call them and ask how the test works? 🌻

Blessings!! 🌄


  • Thanks 1
Link to comment

Between 1987-1989 I had three swab tests done and all came back negative. Was in the military at the time and they would not do a swab test. After the last negative test I actually got to talk to a doctor instead of just a corpsman. After extensive questioning the doctor said that despite the negative result he believed I in fact had herpes. According to him approximately 30% of cases will test negative. He gave me my first prescription for acyclovir and it was effective.

About 7 years ago I found this site and was inspired to finally attempt to have a blood test done.  At my next appointment she ordered the test. A day or two later the results came back negative for HSV1 but positive for HSV2. It is good to have conclusive results no matter the outcome.

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment

I didn't really date much in the decade after I got herpes. The one woman I did go out with mentioned she got cold sores before we ever dated. When I told her I got them at a lower latitude it didn't phase her. We always used condoms during sex.

I met my wife in a herpes chat room back during the heyday of AOL, so the cat was more or less out of the bag from the get go.

I would just say know your facts and be honest. Trust your gut if you have any doubt about the person you are disclosing to.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment

Edited: I just got my IgM blood test results back. It says negative for HSV1 and HSV2….and my swab culture was negative…..I know that IgM can be not accurate so I just took a IgG blood test today to see what that says…can someone explain to me how the IgG and IgM is different? 

  • Like 1
Link to comment

IGM are the antibodies you make after acquiring the infection for the first time, and it will catch the antibodies between 9-15 days after exposure. After that, they disappear and become IGG. IGG antibodies means that you have antiboies and that you acquiered herpes for the rest of yuor life. IGG will always remain positive.  
IGM is wrothless. It is not recommended to test for HSV-1 os HSV-2, in fact.
IGG is highly reliable and confident if you do it at least, 3 months after exposure (after you had sex with a person with herpes).  After three months, it is very effective.
That's the difference.
I hope this helped you. Let me know if you have more questions.  

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment

IGM sometimes is good for some people when they get the first outbreak. If it comes positive, it means that you got it recently. It helps to people to know that the person who gave them is their current partner. 
For example, if you get tested and you get a IGG positive, and negative IGM, you can't know the person who gave it to you. You could got it one-5-6-10 years ago and you didn't know.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment

Thank you everyone for explaining that to me!

I just got my IGG results back and it says <0.90 for HSV1 and HSV2. 
Does that mean positive or negative? 

The IgM tests said “negative” but this one doesn’t specify negative or positive. 

Link to comment

So far I’ve had what visually looked like an outbreak 3-4 years ago…swabbed negative….negative IgM blood test and now an IgG test that I think the results mean negative too?

I am so confused because the when I had my “outbreak” I had all the symptoms (flu like feeling before, genital ulcers) and then tingling and “prodrome” symptoms that lasted 8 months after but no second outbreak…

I’m confused what this could mean or what I need to do/if I need to disclose to my new partners?

Link to comment

Hi @Blue1982!!

I hope you are doing well. 

In regards to your IGG test results, that less than .90 means it is negative. .90-1.09 means Equivocal and 1.09 and greater is positive. However, sometimes false negatives occur if the time between the first breakout and the test are too close together, as the body has not had sufficient time to create enough detectable antibodies.

What doesn't make sense is that you have been having outbreaks/had an outbreak 3-4 years ago, so logically the body should have had enough time to make detectable antibodies. I just checked out this info from the American Sexual Health Association:

The accurate herpes blood tests detect IgG antibodies. Unlike IgM, IgG antibodies can be accurately broken down to either HSV-1 or HSV-2. The challenge here is that the time it takes for IgG antibodies to reach detectable levels can vary from person to person. For one person, it could take just a few weeks, while it could take a few months for another. So even with the accurate tests, a person could receive a false negative if the test is taken too soon after contracting the virus.

For the most accurate test result, it is recommended to wait 12 – 16 weeks from the last possible date of exposure before getting an accurate, type-specific blood test in order to allow enough time for antibodies to reach detectable levels.


 I'm so sorry about the confusing test results. Hypothetically, it could be something else that mimics herpes (for example, contact dermatitis), but your prodrome symptoms and everything line up with HSV. 

Have you tried asking a doctor or a specialist who is familiar with herpes and viruses? Viruses are such odd things and maybe a virologist would have an understanding? (or maybe even your doctor or an OBGYN?)

In the end, this is your body and you know it best. If it would make you feel happy, you can even tell partners that you have had something that aligns with HSV in the past (explain the symptoms, outbreak, and 8 months, etc), and explain that you've worked so hard to get to the bottom of it, however all tests have come back negative. You can explain that false negatives are always a possibility, however the IGG and PCR tests are very accurate. It's always good to just say, "Hey just do you know I had an HSV-like outbreak x years ago... (explain) and I wanted to tell you because I care about you and respect you."

Good kind humans react well to science, and will respect the care you've taken to figure out what's been happening with your body. Remember that the person you deserve will be understanding!

I am sending you prayers and blessings!!🌄💛

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment

@Flowerteacher55 thank you so much for your advice and information.


I only had one “outbreak” 3-4 years ago but was told visually it was herpes.

swab test during outbreak came back negative, and then both my IgM and IgG tests 3-4 years later came back negative.

I am very confused because I haven’t had another outbreak since.

the on-call gyno nurse told me that the outbreak might have been something else that isn’t HSV and I should assume I don’t have it now??

I like your idea of telling partners that I had what appeared to be an HSV outbreak 3-4 years ago but have tested negative ever since…just so they have some awareness.

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Yes. You can assume you don't have it. 
A visual inspection is the worst thing to do. Probably you had another thing, and not herpes. It happens a lot. If you had listened the podcast, Terri Warren says that there are cases were doctors just tell it's herpes with a visual observation, without making a swab or an antibody test. If it was 3-4 years ago, and now you have a negative test, you are fine. YOU DON'T HAVE IT!
If you want to do the test again to be sure, do it, if it makes you feel better psychologically.
The last thing you can do is a western blood test, performed by the University of Washington, if it stills makes you feel better psychologically.

Link to comment
  • 4 weeks later...

Hi, @Blue1982! 🙂 

I am happy your results came back negative! 

However, yes, that does still leave you wondering what could be causing your symptoms. 

Two years ago was your outbreak, but you still have genital tingling and itching since. This could indicate various things, or a combination of things that happened to occur simultaneously, with lingering side effects of the tingling and itching.

Does the tingling come and go or is it constant? Do you experience any redness, discharge, unusual odor, burning with urinating, or pain with sex? Do you experience painful periods, and/or do your symptoms worsen or better when you get your period?

These questions may help lead us towards a possible diagnosis! 🙂 



Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

I had typical HSV symptoms: flu-like feeling and then vaginal ulcers.

Ever since then it’s been daily tingling/burning in genital area/vaginally. It is constant.

Slight pain with sex initially and then fine after a few seconds. 
It’s more of the constant daily vaginal tingling and burning that I am worried about. And the fact that I had multiple vaginal ulcers at one time.

I have been tested for STIs and yeast and BV multiple times.

im wondering if it was an allergic reaction to something or Staph or Strep…I have been living as if I have HSV for years until my IgG and Western Blot came back negative recently and now I don’t know what could cause all of this. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...