Never has Textbook Outbreak

Dear Dr. Rob:

I have kind of an odd question. I was diagnosed with genital herpes 7 years ago, and since the diagnosis, I have never had a textbook outbreak. I am not exactly sure if I am having symptoms of it or not. There are times when I have some itching and/or swelling of the labia, but no blisters. Also, I have had this strange symptom twice now in the last year that I am not sure if it is herpes or something else. I do get a blister that opens with swelling around it on my tailbone. I am sorry if this sounds weird, but I don’t know where else to get any info. I have asked the doctors that I have seen for GYN appointments about the outbreaks, and they say that they cannot retest for the virus unless I am having an outbreak, but I don’t know when/if I am!! Please help.

Dr. Rob’s Response:

Dear Emily:

Your doctors can test for herpes by doing a Herpes Select Test. The only reason they cannot test using cultures is because that requires an outbreak. On the other hand, the antibodies if present, are a clear indication that you have HSV1 or HSV2, as the test turns out, and that you can be shedding, even though you don’t have lesions. 


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