Avatar universal

Can you get a false positive for HSV 2 test?

I just got the most devastating news of my life.  My doctor did blood tests for herpes, which came back positive for hsv 1 and 2.  He says the test is fool proof and that there is no way I have a false positive.  I have been reading and reading and reading about symptoms, outbreaks etc.  I have NEVER ever had an outbreak, or even so much as a symptom.  I have had bladder infections and yeast infections but they always cleared up easily with the right medication.  So my question is... is it possible for a test to come back positive but in reality I don't have genital herpes?
13 Responses
Avatar universal
yes it is very possible for a false positive. What test did you have exactly??  You must have type specific testing meaning it must be an IGG antibody test specific for type 1 and then another test specific for type 2.  When you body is infected with any foreign invader, like a virus, your body produces antibodies to fight off the virus.  did you have a culture done, where they swab an infected area and test for the virus or did you have a blood test that would detect specific antibodies to the virus??  Also, what was you result exactly; ur test results should say something like HSV 2 positive- 3.6 ; hsv 1 positive >5.00.  The lower the value, the more of a chance it is a false positive.   Why did you get tested in the first place? have ur past partner been tested?
Avatar universal
I had the antibody test via blood.  He said they tested for hsv 1 and 2 and it shows I had previous exposure?????  They didn't do any swabs on me because I have never ever had any symptoms.  I was in such shock from what he said I didn't even think to ask about the numbers associated with the results.  I am going to head back Monday with more questions.  I had the test in the first place because I found out my previous partner had been cheating on me with several other women.  My current partner is going for testing asap.  I am so devastated to think that it is possible I passed something like this on to another human being or that such a thing is living inside of my body.
Avatar universal
I also had a physical examination by my doctor and he said everything looks fine.
Avatar universal
I know what you mean with being devestated... we have all been through it. "Previous exposure" means that you have been exposed to the herpes virus at some point and you have herpes but dont have an active infection. Since your doc said "previous exposure" you probably did have the correct IGG test.. BUT BUT BUT BUT!!!  you have to make sure it was a type specific test!!! . AND!!! u need to know the number values !!!!  keep in mind close to 80 or 90 percent of people have HSV 1..and you dont see 80 or 90 percent of the population walking around with cold sores all the time! right???

LEt us know the results...and we can go from there!!... dont worry until you have to, even if u are positive for sure there is a lot of support on this forum and other forums.. and it might seem like the end of the world, but its not!!.. there is a lot of STIGMA behind the virus that is unnecessary.. in fact reading your words..."I passed something like this on to another human being or that such a thing is living inside of my body"... kinda made me laugh..and just a few months ago I was saying the same thing as u and crying as I was typing words similar to that statement.  everything is going to be fine.  keep us posted.
Get a Western Blot Test done. You need to contact the University of Washington for this. Explain everything to them. They'll put a test packet for you. Note: this will cost about $254.00.
101028 tn?1419603004
you can just call monday and ask them to read the results to you. write down the numbers - e.g. hsv1 igg 5.9 and hsv2 igg 3.4 or whatever they are and then post them here. Honestly I can probably help you a lot more with your test results than your doc can. that way you don't waste your time trying to be seen or your money at this point!  

Avatar universal
thank you so much everyone.  I will post the numbers here tomorrow.
Avatar universal
Well apparently in Canada they don't assign number values to these tests.  I had the IGG antibody test.  One star shows a low exposure Two stars shows a high exposure.  They say the test is around 96 to 97% accurate.  My test results came back positive for both and with Two stars.  So its seems at some point I have definitely been exposed to this virus.  Now where to go from here?

101028 tn?1419603004
really this is a poor way to report testing. odds are there are numeric results if your provider calls the lab and asks for them.
Avatar universal
grace, is there a possibility of false positive if igg for type 1 is 3.58 . i have also posted this question separately before i saw a similar one here
Avatar universal
My fiancé cheated on me and now has tested positive for herpes s1. The doctor said it was a level 34 positive but in the past 10 years I have never seen a cold sore. Can you help me understand these results and how I can protect myself.
Avatar universal
I read your comments on this older post and I too have been tested. I am not sure what the numbers mean because they came via email. This is what I received

Component                       Standard Range Your Value
HSV I IgG, Immnoblot             <0.90                   0.95
HSV II IgG, Immunoblt             5.00

You seem knowledgeable about this and I am not sure if or when my dr will call to explain my results. It looks like I'm positive. Please help!!!
Avatar universal
There is also a possibility for false positives such in my case. I had my blood taken in a local lab for a hsv2 IGG test and was diagnosed positive in the value of 10.10! A few months later took a Herpeselect test administered by Quest diagnostics and had a negative value of 0.31! The following year had the test done by a different local lab with a positive reading of 5.9...retested with Herpeselect a few months later with a negative value of 0.25! Those numbers and differences are drastic! I believe my body was fighting off a staph bacterial  infection at the time of both false positives. I experienced boils and rashes on my buttocks and groin area(not on the genitals)when I thought it was herpes which it was not.
I am going through the same sort of being diagnosed with hsv 1 and 2 due to what i thought was a staphylococcus infection. I will be getting retested
Can you get copies of your tests? It would help to see what testing you had done, and what the actual results were.

Quite often, doctors do a non-type specific, and the results come back as "HSV1 & 2 - positive", which means that you have type 1 aOR type 2, OR both. The test doesn't differentiate between the two.

Let us know what the results are, and we can help walk you through this.
Oh and have you had any kind of cultures done on your symptoms?
Nope just had blood test drawn igm hsv1and2 1.40 and igghsv2 negative
The IgM test is terribly unreliable, and shouldn't be done on adults. Go with the IgG test. It can take up to 4 months to show positive on the IgG test, so you may need to retest depending on the time frame.

Also, if your IgM test is accurate (and this is designed to look for new infections - the first few weeks after exposure) your 1.4 is a really low positive. I'd ignore this test altogether, and pay attention to the IgG, and go from there.
Also, you said that you thought it was a staph infection. What led you to that? Was anything cultured?
Over shaving near the area and swimming pools is what i imagine. the doctor treated me for Folliculitis and antibiotics cleared it up. In the mean time i went to go get tested elsewhere. This test says i test positive ugh for herpes 1 igg at 1.61 and <.90 for herpes 2 which means negative. I’ve researched that Hsv1 is very common due to salavia exchange.

This doctor also showed me that the igm results show 1.2 hsv1 and 1.8 HSV2. She proceeded to tell me the igm results are what you go by and highlighted. “Igm reactivity to both hsv1 and HSV2 May represent crossreactive hsv antibodies to both hsv1 and HSV2” so this is the second doctor telling me i have been exposed to HSV2. But doing research and this thread and what you just said don’t go by the igm?? I wish i could upload results.

Thank you for your time out consulting my issue!
Here are some articles that may help you understand the IgM -




https://westoverheights.com/herpes/the-updated-herpes-handbook/ - go to the section on testing, the part about IgM is on pg 11.

You can upload the results to imgur or something and then link it here. Just be careful to not include the part with your name, and location info, or anything that may identify you.
Okay - so see where your HSV1 IgM AND IgG are positive? Those shouldn't happen at the same time. Once you've developed IgG antibodies, your IgM should be negative.

When was your last possible exposure? If it was longer than a couple of weeks before the test, the IgM shouldn't have been done anyway.

Really, you can ignore the IgM. Act like it didn't happen. It's a flawed test for herpes.

I sure will. These doctors swear they know so much and really aren’t educated on the herpes as they think. It has been quite a scare.
I'm sure it has, and it didn't need to be. I'm sorry it happened, but you are now educated (even if your doctors aren't) should it happen again. :)
Avatar universal
I am in the same exact situation. I was just diagnosed today for both 1 and 2. I've been married for 10 years. Doc said it can stay dormant for years. I've never had an outbreak
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