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Confusing Igg Results

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Hello, 21F

I recently had my first STD test done on May 2nd. On May 8th I got the results back. My IgM for herpes simplex 2 was negative, my IgG was in the equivocal range, of 1.02. A negative is <0.9, equivocal 0.9-1.09 and positive of > 1.09.


I have one sexual partner in my life with whom I always used a condom for sex but never used anything for oral which was only performed twice. He told me he was a virgin before, his HSV results are unknown. I was also molested as a child around the age of 5. SO i guess that would count as 2 sexual partners. However I had not have sex since December of 2015. The equivocal results are confusing to me because I thought those only occur because of too early of a test done after a recent exposure.


I wanted to retest right away but my doctor told me i need to wait at least 1 month preferably 2. Im very confused as to what would cause this and since I technically haven't been sexually active this would be a negative.


I have never had any symptom of herpes. I get the occasional ingrown hair but I know its always that because I can see the follicle.


My questions are is this common to get this kind of result and not have herpes? and would testing within the next week be way to early? Also since I haven't been sexually active in 18 months isn't this technically a negative result?

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Hi @hithere. Ignore the IGM test, for starters. They're notoriously unreliable.


Since there's been no sexual activity in the past 18 months, I'm not aware of any reason to wait a specific amount of time before retesting. (That advice is usually given to those who've had sex recently, as it takes time for your body to produce enough antibodies after exposure to test positive. Some will test positive within a few weeks after exposure, others take up to 4 months.). *However* I'm not a doctor, nor am I an expert.


Terri Warren, an expert on herpes, says that if you have an equivocal result (like you did), to retest again, but she doesn't give any guidelines as to when. Go ahead and follow your doctor's advice here. Terri says if the number goes down with the second test, the result is negative. If it goes up, it "could" be positive. She also says it's rare for a second test to be equivocal again. If it is, then you'd want to follow-up with a western blot test, which is more sensitive and the gold standard (it's also more expensive and a pain to do because it's uncommon, but it's possible because I did it!).

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According to the CDC's own guidelines, any score below a 3.5 on the IGG is dubious. Over half of those scores between 1 and 3.5 are actually false positives. For some reason most doctors and practitioners aren't aware of this information and they automatically assume that if you're only just over the equivocal you automatically have herpes. That simply is not true and it really concerns me but there are thousands of people out there who think they have herpes when they actually do not just because their doctor told them so. One needs to wait 12 weeks after the sexual encounter to get tested for IGG to get an accurate reading. It takes that long for the antibodies to kick in. I am not a doctor, I have just done extensive research online and read every post that has been posted to Terri Warren's blog. If you get continuous scores in the equivocal or positive range and they're below 3.5 you need to do the Western Blot at the University of Washington. They will send you a kit. Terri Warren can help you with that information. The Western blot is a more accurate reading than the IGG.

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@hithere As Camilo stated, false positives can occur when the value is below 3.5. Additionally, the lower the value, the more likely it is a false positive. As you get closer to 3.5, it is less likely to be a false positive, but results closer to .90, like yours, are more likely to be false positives.


Also, as HikingGirl stated, IgM test results should be disregarded.

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