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Confused About Antibody Levels & "First" Herpes Outbreak

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OK, so as this diagnosis is sinking in, and as I learn one thing, I end up with 50 other questions. I'm kind of confused in my thinking, so I'm going to try to ask this question the best I can and try to make sense :-) cuz I'm confusing myself.


My HSV2 antibody level is high - 8.0. I understand this means that I have had this for a while. But, sometimes it sounds like the level of the antibodies in my system are more due to the OB's than the amount of time I've actually been exposed? I think I've read somewhere that once you have had your initial OB, that is when the antibodies start kicking in to "get your system straight" and fight off this virus. Am I totally misinterpreting this?


Initially I thought the antibodies started kicking in when I was exposed, as my body started to try to fight the virus. And, the OB finally happens as the immune system gets run down, stress, hormones, whatever, take your pick of a trigger. I just figured that, as I'm getting older, my body just can't fight things off as well as it used to and then BAM! there's why it's been dormant and now all of a sudden I have an OB.


I guess I'm getting confused as to what happens to the levels when an OB happens? What sucks is, I don't even know if this is my first OB. I mean, I've never had anything like this before - but I've had bad UTI's and I've always gotten boils and breakouts on my upper-inner thighs (honestly for as long as I can remember, like young young) so I "think" this was my first OB, but I'm unsure now that I'm analyzing everything.

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Not sure how much help this will be, but here goes...


I got herpes way back in 1987. 3 weeks ago I finally had a blood test run. My results came back HSV2 positive with a level of 5.0. I was not having an outbreak at the time. Outbreaks don't happen much these days. Not sure if the level changes during an outbreak. Hopefully someone else might have a better handle on this.


Herpes is also a very individual thing. No two people are effected the same way. It's possible 8.0 is normal for you and 5.0 normal for me.

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Hi FLNewH, this is what I know about antibodies... the body (white blood cells- part of the immune system) sends out antibodies as a defense against intruders like bacteria or viruses. If the level of antibodies are high it would indicate that the virus is active, and could mean it is newer because your body hasn't got used to the virus in your system and created B cells to help attack it. I would need clarification though, does the antibody screen show B cells? B cells are produced over time, and respond faster.. think of them as "memory cells" and explain why the first OB are usually worse and as time goes by, they become fewer, more far between, and less intense.


ihaveittoo is right though, there are normal ranges that we expect but every body is different and what is normal for you may not be the next person's normal.


I think my information is general, and i've applied it to herpes.. maybe someone has more understanding of the specifics?

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Well, 8 isn't particularly "high" ... I'd say it's a typical "established" number and that is all you can get out of that. I've heard of people with numbers in the 30's with no OB. I don't believe that there are any studies or info about what the numbers "mean" once you get over the 3.5 "positive" level.


@3LB ... yes - the Igg tests for proteins in the "memory" cells ... Igm tests for the "first responder" antibodies that you get with an initial OB but it's notoriously unreliable and not worth running it according to all the Herpes experts.

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