August 28, 2015 at 2:16 am #9015
Hi Dr. Warren –
I think it is possible that someone I dated for a few weeks gave me herpes, and I wanted to see if you could help me interpret my test results before I reach out to him to have the conversation.
He told me that he had been tested recently (March), did not have any STDs and only slept with one person other than me since then. I had a serious lapse in judgement and took that to mean we were ok having unprotected sex. (very stupid, I know. We had unprotected sex on July 10th, 17th and 19th. Here’s what happened next:
-July 24th: I started to experience symptoms that I thought was a UTI (pain while urinating).
-July 26th: I began having additional symptoms that sounded more yeast-infection-like.
-July 27th: I went and got an 8-panel STI test (that included HSV 2 IgG.)
-July 29th: My results came back. Everything negative with my HSV 2 IgG value being .9, but I knew something was wrong. This UTI / yeast infection situation had to be either the worst ever recorded in history or something else, so I went to see my OB-GYN that same day. She said she saw sores on my cervix that were presenting themselves as a primary herpes outbreak, she took a swab test and prescribed 1G Valtrex, 2x day for 10 days.
-July 31st: My symptoms had started to improve with the Valtrex, so no surprise when swab test came back positive. With my blood test coming back negative and my swab test coming back positive, I assume it’s highly likely that this new guy infected me.
While all this is happening, this is the point our budding relationship seems to be going great, and thankfully I had a week long work trip and got my period right when I got back, so I was able to put off having sex with him while I sorted out when/how/where I was going to bring this up. On August 17th, out of nowhere, he breaks up with me because he’s “falling for me and scared he’s going to get hurt.” (eye roll).
On August 20th I decided to repeat the same 8-panel STI test that I had done on July 26th. I just wanted to have the results and see how my HSV 2 IgG value was different 6 weeks after having had unprotected sex with him. This time everything but HSV 2 came back negative. My HSV 2 IgG value was now 3.63.
All this said, I want to reach out to him to let him know that I tested positive, that I believe he unknowingly infected me, and that I think he should go get tested (and make sure that he’s getting tested for HSV2, since doctors don’t always include that one). I wanted to see if you thought my interpretation of the results was correct and that the timing indicates he infected me before I have this conversation. He got very feisty with me when I asked him about the last time he got tested, and I think he’s going to lose it and accuse me of infecting him.
Thanks so much. Sorry this was so long. Hope the detail was more helpful here than annoying!
August 28, 2015 at 3:06 am #9016
So sorry! One typo I made in my litany above!
I left out the critical < when giving you my HSV 2 IgG value.
My July 29th results were HSV 2 IGG < .9
August 28, 2015 at 11:01 am #9021
Your interpretation of the test results are spot on – exactly correct.
I get approached very often to testify in legal cases about did someone give someone else herpes. Most times it is not possible to know this for certain. What you need to make this case is a negative IgG antibody test, then symptoms with a positive swab test then retesting with a positive IgG test. You have this perfect trifecta. Not that I am encouraging you to take legal action, I am not. But I am saying assuming there are no other partners involved on your side, you could definitely prove he infected you. What most people don’t have is that baseline negative antibody test to prove that they were not infected previously. You have it all.
Good luck telling him – it sounds like he either honestly didn’t know he had herpes and/or wasn’t tested for herpes along with other stuff.
August 28, 2015 at 12:37 pm #9030
Thank you so much for your quick reply. This is the first time I’ve felt any peace with this, since I got the diagnosis. I don’t know why it makes it better to know who infected you, but it does.
Any tips on language for the conversation I have to have with him would be most appreciated. Based on his sensitivity to questions about his last STD test plus how emotionally charged the breakup was, I think it’s going to be a tough one.
I won’t be taking legal action. I honestly think he has no idea he has it, but more importantly, I’m too emotionally worn out from the combination of 1) getting this diagnosis, 2) at the same time I got broken up with this guy who I really liked and who left me because he “wanted to just be with me and was too freaked out by the feelings” and 3) who left me with an incurable disease that will impact me and every relationship moving forward for the rest of my life.
Thank you again.
August 28, 2015 at 1:12 pm #9031
I was not at all suggesting that you sue him – actually I think in most cases that prolongs adjustment and often doesn’t succeed anyway. I was saying you could win if you did.
If I were you, I would probably put this in writing because it is hard to explain and understand verbally and because it is emotionally charged. It might be good for him to have something he can refer back to as he processes his own infection.
How about this:
“As you might recall, I was having pretty severe genital symptoms in July when we were still seeing each other and had had unprotected intercourse three times. I know you told me that you had been tested for STD’s in March, but I’m now thinking you likely were not tested for HSV 2. Let me tell you why. On July 24th, I started having symptoms of a really bad urinary tract infection – pain with urination mainly – and I thought it would be good for me to have an entire panel of STD tests, just to be certain I didn’t have anything that I could pass on to you that might be causing these symptoms. So I ordered that panel on July 27th. I was negative by IgG test for HSV 2 (herpes simplex virus type 2). I continued to have difficult symptoms and went into my doctor who found a lesion on my cervix which she swabbed for herpes. It was positive for HSV 2. The combination of a negative blood antibody test and a positive swab test indicates new infection. There was virus present on the swab but not enough time had gone by for me to have developed antibodies. On August 20th I repeated the HSV 2 antibody test and I am now positive at 3.63, proving that I had gone from negative to positive – a term called seroconversion – going from negative to positive. Believe me, I’ve learned more about herpes terminology than I had ever hoped to learn. I have had no other partners in ________X months prior to having sex with you so this had to have come from you. My thought is that you were not tested for HSV 2 in your STD screen (you should check) and honestly did not know that you had this infection. I am telling you so that you can confirm with your own IgG test and takes step to reduce the risk of infecting someone else in the future.”
Something like that anyway
August 28, 2015 at 1:20 pm #9033
Sorry, one more question (please let me know if I’ve hit my quota and need to buy more).
If someone is asymptomatic (which I assume he is, since he has no idea he has it), will he test positive on an IgG test?
August 28, 2015 at 1:25 pm #9034
Yes, he will.
This was your final question, please feel free to renew if you have more questions.
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