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How accurate are IgG tests?

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About 3-4 years ago I had what doctors visually diagnosed as GHSV.

they swabbed the ulcers and it came back negative for HSV1 and HSV2.

No second outbreak since.

now, years later I decided to get IgM and IgG blood tests. Both came back negative.

So now I have a negative swab, negative IgM and negative IgG test…but had ulcers once.

How accurate would people say IgG tests are roughly 3-4 years after an initial “outbreak”?


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Hi!! @Blue1982

Wow, your results are so interesting! So just to clarify, you have only had that one outbreak?

If you've only had that single outbreak, which the doctor identified through sight only (no swab culture), than perhaps it wasn't herpes? Contact dermatitis, HPV (looks similar but the symptoms are not the same, herpes burns and itches and with genital warts/HPV it is different), or molluscum contagiosum (which is actually what I thought I had at first before I got diagnosed with HSV-1!)

Now, if you are really thinking it is herpes, I would say this in regard to your test results:

First, here's some talk about tests:

IgM: IgM tests are actually not the best because they are unreliable and can often cause false positives, often due to mistaking chicken pox or varicella as HSV. Also, IgM cannot distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2. 

IgG: These are the preferred, reliable tests, as they can tell you the actual type of HSV you have if you have it. However, the time for people to get detectable antibody IgG levels can vary; for some people it can take week and others months. However, you took this test years after the first and only outbreak (probably enough time for the antibodies to appear), and you had a negative test result, makes me think it maybe is not herpes. 

So, what I'm thinking, and I am not a doctor or anything!, is that it may not be herpes. If anything, I am so not happy with the fact that your doctors just visually identified the first outbreak and didn't engage in testing. That was not fair to you.

I did want to ask this: did the doctor prescribe you antivirals, and if so, did they work or reduce the sores and symptoms? This can help us understand if it is likely herpes or not, too! 

I hope this all helps!! 




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@Flowerteacher55 my doctor did swab the lesions during my outbreak 3 years ago and it came back negative but they said it might not have picked up enough to detect it and to just assume it’s herpes.


I did take antivirals for 7 days after that outbreak and it did make the ulcers go away…which could maybe be coincidental?

im just confused because for the past 3 years or so, I’ve thought for sure I had herpes…and now that I have the blood test results back, I am more confused.

The nurse I spoke to after I got my test results back recently said it’s not herpes if the tests are negative and that maybe it was just a weird thing that happened???

it seems strange that there isn’t another explanation that really fits.

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Hi!! Sorry I literally read that wrong, yay for getting swabbed!

Yes, it is so confusing. I'm so sorry about that!! It could be that you do not have it, however the viral medications used to treat herpes (Valacyclovir, Acyclovir, and Valtrex) are unique to help herpes, varicella, shingles, and other pox viruses. So the fact that the virus went away with the medicine could be a coincidence or could mean it's herpes. 

I wish I could give more clarity. However if you are worried about giving it to a partner you can still disclose of the one outbreak to a partner. You can say "because I care about you, I want to let you know I have had an outbreak (and then explain it). You can explain how you aren't sure if it is herpes, but if it is, that they should know the risks. 

Regardless, the right person will be accepting and kind ❤️❤️.


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