HSV-2 Results

Dear Dr. Rob:

I am trying to interpret my positive HSV-2 results and attempt to get a feel for how long I have been carrying this virus. Based on what I am able to determine, I know which past sexual partner(s) I should inform. Please help!!??

I know that IGM testing is very unreliable, but in my case I’m downright confused by it in conjunction with my IGG results. Here they are:
HSV-1 IGG- .75 (low-negative)
HSV-2 IGG- 5 (high-positive) meaning long-term infection?
HSV AB IGM-“Detected/positive” meaning recent infection?
At the point that I had these tests run, I was in the midst of an HSV-2 outbreak (my first ever, which ?coincidently? occurred just 3 days after the first incidence of unprotected sex with my new boyfriend). Is it safe to assume that, with an HSV-2, IGG of 5, I have had this virus for a very long time? And that the detected/positive IGM was a result of the active outbreak and not a “recent” exposure? Or is it possible that, even with a 5 IGG, it is a recent infection?

My new boyfriend, with whom I regrettably had unprotected sex with, got tested after hearing my results and learned he is positive as well. I don’t have his numbers, but he was told by his doctor that he came back with a high IGM and that it is safe to conclude that it is a recent infection. He has never shown symptoms of HSV-2. He was also positive for HSV-1.

We are both now on Valtrex and have chosen to stay together despite this news. Still, I went from thinking that I had contracted herpes from new boyfriend to thinking that I gave it to him. Any insight, please???

Dr. Rob’s Response:

Dear CL

Quite a complex situation! Since you both have IgM positivity, as well as HSV2, it is impossible to say who gave it to whom. The fact that you both decided to stay together is admirable. I would suggest that you consider Valtrex for suppressant therapy, as it reduces asymptomatic shedding, and clearly it would be worth while to use protected sex. In answer to your question, since you are both IgM positive, it is virtually impossible to state from where the virus came.


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