Test for IgM and IgG

Dear Dr. Rob:

I’ve been in a monogamous relationship for 2+ years. I recently had a first episode of very painful lesions. A culture determined I had contracted herpes. My doctor said that for those who do suffer the symptoms of herpes will experience them within 7-10 days after infection. Is this true? Is it possible that I’ve had herpes for much longer but have just never had any symptoms until now?
Thanks for your clarification,

Dr. Rob’s Response:

Dear BR:

Your doctor is correct, according to the textbooks, but it is possible to have contracted the virus a long period ago and not demonstrated lesions during the initial contact, but rather remain dormant for a long period of time.  I cannot state this with certainty.  If you are within a 2-3 month window, a Herpes Select Test, which will give you an index of IgM, as well as IgG, will allow you to determine whether this is a recent or along standing infection.  To clarify, IgG will be up either during a late recent infection or a long term infection.  IgM will only be up during the initial infection. 


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