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I am positive and they were all negative, how can that be?

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Being single, never married and in my early 50s, I have a lot of friends and a couple of exes who have genital herpes. Because of that, I have been ultra-vigilant in awareness. "Is this feeling I am having a yeast infection (to which I am prone) or Oh Crap I have contracted Herpes?" So after this last brief 5-month affair ended I went to my doc to finally get the ringing in my ears looked at and perhaps talk about this newfangled Insulin Resistance thing everyone is talking about, oh and while I am here let's do urine and blood work. So, as it turns out I am A-Okay in all aspects except came back in the mid 5s on the IgG test. So that happened. Not even a phone call from my doctor, just found them in my test results portal. Nice. When I did see my doctor she actually told me "Don't worry about it, don't even tell anyone." I was blown away. Even I know that no OB doesn't mean I can't give it to anyone else.


On to the notifications stage:


Since my last negative result in March of 2013, I have had 4 lovers.

I started with the most recent, a man who frequently had sores on his belly or face, he said they were ingrown hairs and I believed him. He was glad I let him know, then he was pissed when he thought I was accusing him. Then I was pissed when he told me my story wasn't adding up, even though I told him only facts. After a few days, he was blood tested and came back negative. Complained about it for a full day because getting an appointment was apparently an act of God if you aren't having any symptoms. Which by the way, did I mention I have never had an outbreak? Not one sore. Ever. Yeast infections yes. No sores or pimples.


The boyfriend I was with back in 2013 swears he was blood tested and came back negative. He didn't say when this blood test was and I am not going to push it. He says he has even been celibate for a year. Since his name in my phone is LiarLiarMcLiarson I don't know how much credence I can give to his answer, but he was nice about it. Until later that evening he had a few beers and texted me something snarky. I was so depressed I called him and told him he had to be nice to me and he softened some and offered to take me to dinner. Dinner is NOT what I need right now!


Boyfriend from 2014 to 2016 is younger. Very few partners, prior to me but it only takes one. We talked about this when we were together. He says he was tested but did have a Molluscum outbreak when we were a couple, not HSV-2. He also was, as my best friend calls him a Sex Camel. He would save it up for a long time--weeks sometimes and then randomly would want to fool around. When I told him about the diagnosis he took it well and said he would confirm that test result. He said he had just seen that piece of paper and would check it again. We are due to talk again soon and I will press him further. He is capable of lying, I have seen him in action, which is why in my phone he is LiarLiarMcLiarson2. If he is positive it would make sense, though if he doubles down on being negative I am going to be even more confused. I wish he and his current girlfriend would both get tested. I also had HPV discovered while with this man, had a cancer scare because if it. HPV is gone now. For all I know he was a man whore who uses Tinder like mad. I hope he doesn't have it, but.....if I were a betting woman... I skipped testing for it while we were together based on his Negative test at the time.


Boyfriend mid-2016 to early 2017 emailed me that he tested negative right before we broke up. He also finally cleared up why we broke up, but that is another sad story for another day or my yet to be written book. So, the upside of Herpes is I finally got to find out why I was Ghosted--8.5 months later. The bad news is I have to give up my fantasy that he will come back as I loved that man something awful. Glad he is clean--and he got help for his depression.


A week into this saga and my spirits are doing better. I consider myself lucky that I don't have outbreaks. I was planning on taking time off from dating anyway as you can see I have been from one relationship to the next with barely months in between. Is a good time to get re-centered, drop that weight I put back on earlier this year while I was eating my feelings after being Ghosted. Is a good time to focus on career, health, art, friends, and family. Clean up my clutter and clean up my attitude. If I am lucky enough to go without an outbreak forever that will be good. The thought of inadvertently giving this to someone else...well my guess is that is how I got it, but I am not someone who can just throw my hands up and say oh well and not tell future lovers even if my chance of giving it is low.


I wonder...the two exes from prior to 2013 that have it, I tested negative after was with them both, could it have lived in my spine undetected? That doesn't seem right? Was I wrong in thinking that one of these 2 of 4 fellas gave me the Herps? I suppose I could have it and not have given it to them. Will do more research. Feel like I read somewhere that I have a 10% chance of passing it on if I am of the no OB variety.



Thanks for reading, I am feeling better every day, sleeping without sleep aids and pretty pragmatic. :/






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Hello I am a laboratory medicine physician and would like to know what test did you take and what was the IgG titer level. There have been an increased number of false positive results with the Herpes-Select test and with no symptoms you may represent a false positive.

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Was IgG mid 5s so higher than that window of uncertainty. I am toying with getting the Western Blot test as live close to UofW. HSV -1 was a lower # and have tested positive for that over the years. This was the first time I was given the actual range #s. If I push I can get the range numbers from 2010 and 2013. Thanks.

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I wouldn't bother with the prior numbers. I few months ago, I would say a number of 5 was a definite positive. However, recently I have seen individuals with numbers of 4,5, 8, and even 14 not confirm. I believe that an antigen has recently entered the environment that bears close homology to the site of glycoprotein G2 they are using for HSV-2.

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One thing to keep in mind is that for every one of those friends and exes you know who *knows* they have HSV2, there are 7 others who have it but don't know it. Only 1/8 of those with HSV2 have been diagnosed. It most often goes unnoticed or mistaken for something else, as you have described and experienced yourself. Most of those 7/8 of people who have HSV2 and don't know it assume they don't have it, either because they think symptoms would be painfully obvious, or because they assume their regular STI testing includes HSV when it usually doesn't, even when they asked to be tested for everything, or they assume any past partner who had it would know it and alert them to it or it would be super obvious.


In the U.S., among women of your age, gender and marital status, a majority have HSV2. It is more common to have it than not have it. Additionally, most of them have HSV1. Avoiding HSV, especially as we age, requires partner testing before sex with each new partner. Most people don't do that, they just assume they'd know if they had it. Or they treat it as they treat HPV, a risk that goes along with having sex.


I'm sorry you're struggling with this. I'm a divorced woman in my late 40s and you're welcome to PM me if you need a listening ear. The stigma definitely threw me for a loop when I tested positive and I still have to work through my anger about it sometimes, but things did get significantly better after a little time.

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Thanks @Jack101 and @optimist I am doing better than I thought I would be. The rest of the year has been so awful I think I am used to dealing with difficult things by now. I will look into getting the Western Blot just to be on the sure side. I assume that test is still accurate? )

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@optimist. Nothing to swab due to the whole no outbreaks. I ordered Western Blot and will go Monday for 2nd blood draw. BF #2 also had 2nd blood test and should have results by now. Two weeks in and there are times the topic drops from the forefront of my mind.

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@secondchances, I concur with optimist. A negative genital swab simply means no virus was detected at that particular location. There may be no lesion to swab, the lesion may have stopped shedding, or the wrong area was tested. A positive genital swab generally means their is virus detected (You should believe these results unless symptoms do no correlate and there is concern with cross contamination; PCR is highly accurate for HSV as it actually tests for the virus rather than antibody production, but no test is perfect and very rarely, the vial may become contaminated).


Blood tests are more sensitive for HSV, but less specific as they test for antibody production. The Herpes select test which you took is very sensitive for HSV-2, but has a high false positive rate. If you are between 1.1-3.5 you have a 50% chance of being a false positive, if you are greater than 3.5 you have a 10% chance of being a false positive. However, per my experience the number of false positives above 3.5 have increased this year. The western blot is the gold standard of antibody testing. You should believe the results of this test.

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  • 1 month later...

@Jack101 WELL A HUGE THANK YOU. I went in late November to UW and took the Western Blot. As my MD was the one that ordered it I couldn't ask any questions. Finally, after 6 weeks I learned they had lost the test. So, I retested through Kaiser and they sent to UW lab. Today I found out that it WAS A FALSE POSITIVE. With no outbreaks and no tingling, I was surprised to have a positive test. This makes more sense to me. I would recommend the Western Blot for anyone in my situation.

Cheers and good luck.

Also, I met a really nice man who didn't seem to worry one way or the other about my status. Hope he is a keeper.


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