You are correct – this is not a positive result it is an equivocal result. He has a substantial HSV 1 response and this could “dribble” over onto the HSV 2 result. The issue of when to do further testing or if any should even be done is another matter.
I don’t want know what triggered this trust concern, but if it is related to sex with other people and you think it might be recent, then doing a confirmatory test at this point would not be helpful. Now that you have this equivocal result, I doubt that you would like to simply move on. Yes, it can be in this range because it is just dribble from HSV 1 or it could be that he has a very new infection and is just starting to develop antibody. I think the fact that he was happy to do the test is a good sign. In my experience, men who have been having sex with someone outside of their normal relationship are very nervous about being tested. Now he could be not nervous for other reasons of course – another partner told him she had been tested, for example or they used condoms and he believes that is protective against herpes (only partially).
I doubt that you were tested for herpes when you were first together – most STD screens don’t include herpes – but it is possible of course. Any way to get those records? Again in my experience, people who test in the low positive or equivocal range and are not infected, pretty much stay right around there with further testing.
It sounds like you are not convinced of his fidelity. The best route would probably be to retest in a few months and see what the value is. If it is still in the equivocal or low positive range, then get a western blot. If is now negative, I would not believe that he is infected with herpes. The waiting might be a challenge. And I would say if your heart says to have sex with him, then do it, with condoms as always.
Let me know if you have further questions, OK? You have two more.