November 21, 2020 at 3:53 pm #71842
I’m reeling after a sexual assault that occurred at the beginning of this year. Here’s the background w/ questions to follow…
Prior to non-consensual encounter, I tested negative for HSV2 at <0.91 (exact index not specified on my report.) test taken: LabCorp HSV-2 Type Spec Ab, IgG w/ Rflx. specimen was collected on 7/15/2019. At the time I was not sexually active and without a partner, but always thought it would be good to know my status.
I remained sexually inactive until the non consensual encounter which happened at a New Years party. While I do believe there’s a possibility condoms were used (they were scattered around the room) there’s no certainty. I was in-out of consciousness. I don’t know that person’s status with certainty, but apparently he is known to drug and assault women and leads a high-risk lifestyle.
Took rape kit and standard panel came back clean, but was recommended to follow up later for HSV2. I was scheduled to do so at appropriate intervals, then COVID hit. Did not seem safest to go into a clinical setting, and honestly the larger health crisis distracted me from my own personal crisis. Until now.
Finally only recently was able to schedule with my GYN and took another LabCorp HSV-2 Type Spec Ab, IgG on 11/9/2020. Results give an index of 1.39 (on the low positive end from researching this forum, I’ve ordered WesternBlot from UW for confirmatory test)
My question is, is there any indication that COVID antibodies could mimic and result as a false positive for HSV2? After researching, it is my understanding some people have a certain protein in their blood that shows up on the test. Wondering if a novel virus can trip the test.
I’m also upset because they refused to test for HSV1. The last time I was HSV1 tested was by a different clinician in Oct 2018 (Planned Parenthood) which came back negative. I have never had symptoms of an outbreak orally or genitally. I was especially monitoring myself after assault but nothing…
November 25, 2020 at 12:01 pm #71880
No, there is no relationship between COVID and the HSV test results. At 1.39, there is an 85% chance that this is a false-positive result. I’m so glad you are doing the western blot for clarification. You sound like a very proactive woman, out to find the truth. I’m so sorry for your sexual assault.
November 25, 2020 at 1:28 pm #71889
Thanks for your insight Terri.
I looked at my report again, and since the index was 1.39 it triggered the reflex test. That supplemental reading came back as negative. From reading this forum, I seeyou don’t put much faith in the supplemental but could that be a good indication I would, in fact, be HSV2 negative? Or perhaps the HSV2 index of 1.39 is picking up on a *new* HSV1 infection? Since they refused to test for HSV1 I have no idea where I currently stand on that specific lab result.
Is it possible to be HSV1+ never having a cold sore? From my earliest recollection I have not experienced one. There wasn’t much kissing growing up. Within my family I received kisses on the cheek, not lips.
Also, the medical assistant that called me with results iterated and harbored that because the index was 1.39 it was high and a definite positive. When I asked about the supplemental being negative she said it didn’t matter—-is that true? Also is it appropriate for a medical assistant to interpret lab results/diagnose? I thought it had to be done by a DR/NP/PA. Even the signing off on my labs is by a medical assistant.
Once I have the results of my WB I’m planning on providing an update to hopefully help others reading.
November 25, 2020 at 1:45 pm #71890
One more tidbit (and please let me know if I need to pay for another round)
Since I do have a documented history of negative HSV1 & HSV2 tests, (and supposing I result as HSV2 negative on this upcoming WB) what would cause me to all of a sudden start making these proteins that trip the test? Would I continue to test positive on future IgG tests?
It’s disheartening the most commonly used and available test has such room for error. Moving forward I’m thinking that with any new sexual partner we will both need to do a western blot in addition to the standard 10-panel. Do you advise taking the WB without an IgG value as a reference? Seems like it might mitigate unnecessary stress of false positives to only go for WB.
November 30, 2020 at 3:02 pm #71921
A low positive on the HSV 2 test would NOT reflect a new HSV 1 infection, no.
And the medical assistant is uninformed about herpes testing and therefore shouldn’t be giving out results, clearly. The discrepancy between the two tests should have set off alarms that a third and better test was needed. I would report this.
While I am not a fan of POSITIVE supplemental tests, the negative ones are better.
Often, the false positives are a function of the test, not the person so I don’t know what would be tripping this test now – they could have changed test brands, I just don’t know. but you could see it again the next time you test.
Going directly to the blot is expensive but more reliable.
February 3, 2021 at 12:05 pm #72592
Hello again Terri. I’ve purchased an additional set of questions.
*UPDATE* (for anyone who may reference this in their state of panic & shock like I did.)
After receiving a new low positive of 1.39 on 11/18/2020, I took the Western Blot test with a new GYN on 12/22/2020 and submitted to UW. Both Western blot HSV1 & HSV2 resulted as negative! I have never experienced any physical manifestations of HSV so getting that positive via IgG was terrifying.
As for my question: now that a confirmatory test renders me negative, how am I all of a sudden making the “trickster” protein? (if the false positive is not due to LabCorp’s own test error)
Is there any research into identifying what proteins/glycoproteins trip the IgG serology tests? The only thing I can think of that changed (as far as consumption) from the previously negative IgG tests to the new low positive, is that I now take Creatine HCL. I recognize that creatine does secrete into the bloodstream, so I wonder if that has any effect.
To Terri, again thank you for your work! Seriously, the potentially false low positives on IgG serology tests need to be mass publicized. I can’t imagine the number of people who are living with the emotional fallout of a condition they don’t suffer from. If you have any researchers looking for participants, I’d be happy to lend my results and specimen in the name of improving these diagnostic tests. Likewise, if you have patients in Southern California looking for a physician willing to order the test, I’d be happy to help.
February 5, 2021 at 4:18 pm #72630
We can’t be sure if your false positive it due to the trickster protein or to something about the test. If your western blot was not indeterminate but negative, then I am less convinced that the trickster protein was at play here.
I am so pleased that you proactively did the western blot with your provider and found out your true results. I too, am horrified at the number of people who are told that they have HSV 2 when they don’t. And to add to my horror, the LabCorp “confirmatory supplemental test” is full of false positives, when compared to the gold standard western blot. I’m not sure how to make this known exactly. To tell people never to do the IgG is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Should we never do mammograms because we might have a false positive read on them? Should we never do a prostate biopsy when we find a high PSA because it might be a false positive? Granted, these are things that could kill you but there are other examples I could cite that don’t either, like false-positive pap smears for HPV. We need better IgG tests and we need more people who become aware of false positives. Actually, this is my professional life now.
I appreciate you sharing your story with us.
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