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Medical Doctors are telling me something different

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I am 52 and recently had a blood test that showed I have antibodies of HSV 1 and HSV 2. It was quite a shock because I have never had a genital outbreak. I have however been getting cold sores every few years on my lip since I was a child.


So how long have I had it? Good question and a question I can't answer. Could have had it for 30 years or more, but never transmitted to my wife of 20 years or any women since my divorce.


I went to my GP Doctor. Top of his field. He told me that if I have never had an outbreak then it is impossible to know if I have the virus. He said there is no test for it. I then went to a skin doctor then a urologist. They told me the same.


They said the only way to know if I carry it is if I have an outbreak and they can test it.


I asked about disclosure. The doctors actually had a phone call to try to figure out what to tell me. They didn't know. They all felt that it is impossible to know if I carry the virus.


In Canada, the medical field tells patients that show anti bodies but have not had an outbreak that they do not need to disclose.


I have thought about this and will definitely disclose. But would love your input.



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I'd love if antibodies present, but no outbreak, meant that there was a strong possibility of not having the virus. It unfortunately does not jive with the fact that lots of people are asymptomatic. I guess these people just have really strong immune systems.


Did your wife test for HSV-1 and HSV-2?

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The blood tests aren't testing for the virus. They detect the antibodies your body produces in response to the virus. If you have the antibodies, you have the virus. Even if you've never had an outbreak. The virus sometimes exits the body (asymptomatic shedding) without any symptoms or sores or any other indication. That's why it spreads so easily. By the time we reach middle age especially, it is very, very common. The catch is that most people don't know they have it and doctors don't routinely test for it. I also have HSV1&2 and was shocked to learn about it a year ago. When my ex-husband tested negative for both, I realized I picked it up 20+ years ago and just had no idea all that time that I had it.

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we're in the same boat. I discussed all this with the doctors but the medical community is not in agreement with what you said. They explained that medically that not all people who show the anti body shed or have outbreaks. They told me that many people who are Asymptomatic do not shed and do not spread the virus. There is no test for shedding. They say they struggle with this all the time as what to tell patients who show anti bodies but are Asymptomatic. Some shed and some don't. Chances are I have had it for 30 years plus and never transmitted it. I'm not trying to follow myself just telling you what 3 doctors have told me.

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Hmmm. I definitely don't claim to be an expert. During my own research over the past year, I've simply noticed that the researchers and health professionals studying herpes are in agreement, but the general medical community is all over the map when it comes to their own knowledge of the subject.

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@HikingGirl @butters1111 Yep, I've had the same experience. My doctors have not been up-to-date and have provided much misinformation, such as "antibodies only mean you were exposed at some point and you don't actually have it" and "you can only transmit it if you have an outbreak and someone comes into contact with an actual vesicle." I wish that was the case, but it's not.


I can understand why doctors might substitute "no risk" for "low risk" when almost everyone has at least one type of HSV by the age of, say, 50, and therefore almost everyone is capable of transmitting herpes. In that sense, it seems ludicrous to dwell on risk outside of outbreaks since the majority of the adult population is shedding at one time or another from the mouth, genitals or both. But often I get the sense that they truly don't know about asymptomatic shedding rather than slyly attempting to talk newly diagnosed patients down from the ledge.


You might appreciate this detailed fact sheet from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes-detailed.htm


Excerpt from the above link: "Transmission commonly occurs from contact with an infected partner who does not have visible lesions and who may not know that he or she is infected. In persons with asymptomatic HSV-2 infections, genital HSV shedding occurs on 10.2% of days, compared to 20.1% of days among those with symptomatic infections."

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Newly tested positive for both types as well. Been married for nearly 21 yeaes and husband tested negative. Pretty messed up since my doc only suggested I get tested because the husband recently got himself a girlfriend, yet the cheating jerk is the one who is negative.

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