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Throughly confused… need clarity

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Hi everyone, I’m hoping I can get some answers… some clarification.

 In October 2022 after some routine bloodwork was done I got my results back and I was informed that I came back as viral for HSV-1 and HSV-2. To say it was a shock was an understatement. I cried for about an hour and a half at my doctors office. I couldn’t believe it. My general practitioner, who did the test kept saying… insisted that I had to have symptoms. She kept saying “when you had you initial outbreak”. I told her I haven’t ever had an outbreak before, even when she described the symptoms I told her I had never felt anything like that. The only thing close to it was this weird tightness in my nose and I felt like it scabbed over inside and then after about a week or so of me applying Vaseline with a Q-tip it went away.
She said that was probably an outbreak. Then I went to see my OB/GYN and tried to show her the bloodwork and she told me it wasn’t anything to really worry about because the test was not a culture or swab test it was blood work that just have antibodies… I was exposed to it.
I went back to my general practitioner and decided that I was going to take daily antiviral and suppressant medication (Valacyclovir). I’ve been taking it since early November after I had my GP run a second set of bloodwork 2 weeks later and they still came back, viral however, both came back lower the second time.

I guess why I’m confused is because I haven’t ever had a symptom (thankfully) out of all the symptoms I’ve read about.

1.How accurate is bloodwork?

2. What does having antibodies actually mean?

3. Am I asymptomatic? 
4. What is shedding? Can I pass it to my children or anyone if I am? How would I know?

Nothing has truly been explained to me and so I feel like I am in the ocean with a tiny boat and one oar paddling in circles. 

It’s just truly disheartening. I’m in my 50s starting menopause and just found this out. I’ve had this bloodwork done before as late as August ‘21 and it came back non reactive. I wasn’t with any until my last relationship. So I believe I contracted it from my last partner who was with for a year and I believe he knew he had it, but didn’t care, and then abruptly ended the relationship once he started having outbreaks again. I could be angry with him but I’m not, it won’t change anything…I’m so mad at myself because most of the time we used protection, but there were those few that we didn’t and those are the times I regret because I was careless & I’ve always been cautious & responsible with using protection. 

I just want information to be informed. I be been through alot of other personal stuff. I go to therapy again. But I still have unanswered questions. I want to try to date… I’ve had people interested but who do I even do that? 
I’m anxious and confused. If anyone can help me navigate through this I’d really appreciate it.

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I'm sorry you are going through this, being told that you are positive for HSV1 and HSV2 must have been really hard.  I am not too sure on the percentages of false positives for blood tests.  I know that blood tests can come back negative if you are positive but I don't know about the other way around.  

Antibodies means that at one point, you came in contact with someone who had the virus and your body created the antibodies to fight it off.  I was tested in 2015 and was positive for HSV1 antibodies and I didn't get my first outbreak until 2022.  I completely forgot that I even tested positive for the antibodies because it never affected my life.  

if you tested positive for the antibodies then that means that its an established infection which means you came in contact with the virus at least 12 weeks ago.  So the guy that you were seeing is probably where you got it from if you previously tested negative. 

You could be asymptomatic if you are not having symptoms.  I believe a lot of people who are positive with HSV are asymptomatic and that's why 2/3 of the population have HSV1 or 2.  Even if you are asymptomatic, shedding can occur at any time.  Shedding is where your body is creating infectious virus partials that can be transmitted to others through close skin to skin contact.  You never really know when you are shedding the virus, but the Valtrex will help lower the transmission rate.   Do not have any type of sexual contact if you ever get symptoms.  I think you are supposed to wait 8 or so days after symptoms to resume sexual contact after an outbreak is over.   When you do have any type of sexual contact, just know that condoms are helpful to reduce transmission as well as the Valtrex.  

Since you do not have any symptoms, you do not know where the infected area is.  HSV1 can be oral or genital and HSV2 prefers the genital area.  Your kids will be perfectly fine since they need to come in contact with the infected area.  So if you are feeling any tingling sensations, itching or see any blisters or lesions in or around your mouth, I would avoid kissing them until all symptoms are gone.   It is possible that the scab in your nose could have been an outbreak, I have read on here that people do get HSV1 in their nose.  

I know this is a lot of information but this forum has a lot of answers.  I was freaking out for the longest time before I found this website.  You can always search up at the top for keywords if you are looking for answers as well.  There are thousands of topics on here that have great input from people who are dealing with the same thing you are. 

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Thank you so much for responding. You gave a lot of helpful information. I’ll check out more topics as well. I was definitely worried about exposing my family. I still am in a way. It’s still new and I’m wise enough to know it’s a process. And with any process it takes time. I’m also dealing with my own feelings & unconscious biases I’ve felt … the stigma around it contributes to my own reactions. 
I’m glad I found this group and finally had the courage to join. I’m still very nervous about any little thing that goes on with my body. If it’s an outbreak what are the precursor symptoms & signs. Sometimes I get so anxious & depressed I force myself to get out and do things.

I sometimes feel that I won’t ever have a relationship again. I had gave up on love. Online dating can be exhausting lol. But then I met him in person. I thought I was fate intervening letting me know love is real. Boy was I wrong! Now after ALL my years (20+) of practicing safer sex this happened. 
I’ve heard and said the expression myself when in moments when people don’t use protection and someone gets pregnant, ppl say “ well getting pregnant isn’t that bad it could be something else… worse!” And that something else is one of those things I’m dealing with now. As I had said it’s a stigma associated with having HSV. And certain communities are not very understanding about a person having it. My family knows and they are very supportive. Some friends are to and some are a bit Leary, but it’s okay. When people are not informed there leaves room for a wealth of misconceptions & misinformation. But again the thought of being rejected by someone I’ve invested my time in getting to know is heartbreaking to be. Yet at the same time it’s making my approach with prospective partners more intentional than ever before. So it’s a blessing in the most peculiar of disguises. 

So again I thank you for your response and if you have any other suggestions or information I’m all in for it. I’m just going to keep trying to give myself Grace in this, as this is my life now, and I’m going to live it Intentionally & Gracefully. 

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You are welcome!  I am in the same boat as you, I am so glad that I found this site because google can have some answers that either don't make sense or doesn't quite relate to what you are going through.  When I first found out I was positive for genital HSV1, I was devastated.  I wanted my symptoms to be anything else but when I saw that positive test result, I automatically googled everything I could think of.  Most information online for HSV1 is geared towards oral HSV1 so it wasn't really helpful.  This page helped me understand the transmission rates and helped with the anxiety that I was feeling about having this lifelong thing.  Having a support system in place is always the best thing because you have people around you to pick you up when you feel down.  

If I think of anything else, I will for sure reach out.  Otherwise this site is a blessing for any type of answers you need.

Have a great day 🙂 


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