Well, if your provider thought it looked like yeast, then I would bet some money on that diagnosis. Though herpes can itch if someone has a big primary, the sores are not something that you would have to dig through hair to find, believe me. And herpes is not the main symptom, it is one of the symptoms for some people
The problem is that often herpes is not included in an STD screen and sometimes when it is, only hSV 2 is included, not HSV 1. And the screening test for HSV 1 is not very good – it misses 1-2 out of 10 infections.
I would suggest that you find out your HSV 1 status and if it was even done at all. Also try to find out if your partner has HSV 1 or not.
It’s very hard to know what to make of an equivocal test. You aren’t positive, that is clear. But if you did contract new HSV 2 the numbers will likely climb, yes. There is no substitute for waiting, but if you take much antiviral therapy, it can impact your antibody testing in the direction of a false negative.
I personally think your symptoms sound very much like yeast like your doctor advised you. Swelling of the labia, terrible itching. Those sounds so classic.
So if your partner tests negative for HSV 2 and your test in October was negative for HSV 2 and you’ve had no other partners, then HSV 2 is very unlikely as a diagnosis.
The next time you test, you may be completely negative! You’ll have to wait and see. A big new HSV 1 genital infection might trigger a little “dripping over” of HSV 2 antibody on the test, but you don’t know about the HSV 1 so it’s hard to know what to make of this. However, I wouldn’t panic if I were you.