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Timing for western blot test

I am in the process of waiting to take a western blot because my HSV2 IgG tests came back in Feb equivocal (0.98) and in March positive (1.15) and I have never had any symptoms. You have to wait 12-16 weeks from last risky encounter in order to take western blot. My question is about what constitutes a risky encounter in this case. Since my last test, I have had condom-protected vaginal intercourse with a HSV2 positive man and also fooled around with him once while naked, no condom, and he briefly rubbed the tip of his bare penis against my clitoris before I pushed him away. Prior to all of the tests I had unprotected vaginal sex with a different man who says he’s tested negative the day before my first test.
So from when would you think I should start the 12-16 week clock?
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207091 tn?1337709493
Ordinarily, I'd say since your last unprotected sex, but since your partner was hsv2 positive, and you've had the low positive IgG tests, I'd say you could try now. If money is an issue, and you are self-paying and can only test once, you could wait 12 weeks from your low positive test, and test then.

In the meantime, you could maybe do another IgG and see if your numbers are rising, if it was catching you as you were developing antibodies.

Briefly rubbing against you probably isn't going to transmit anything.

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Thank you. I hadn't thought about the possibility of getting another IgG while I'm waiting. I assume if it was 0.98 on 2/6 and 1.15 on 3/16, then 6 weeks later it would have to go up in order to be a true positive. That week would also be 12 weeks from last unprotected sex (with a hsv negative guy), so I could do an IgG then. If it's no longer a "low positive" there would be no need for the pricey western blot I suppose. And if it's still low, I can take the western blot then. Does that sound right?

This is so helpful, especially your last sentence, as I had been pretty concerned about that incident setting me back a few weeks.
Yes, that sounds right.

Brief rubbing isn't enough to transmit herpes. It takes some friction and time. I wouldn't worry at all about that incident.

There's not going to be an exact science here. You had an equivocal test on 2/6. In theory, you could test again with an IgG at 12 or 16 weeks from that point to see if it's risen.

12 weeks is April 30, 16 weeks is May 30. Personally, I'd do an IgG for hsv2 only at 12 weeks from the 2/6 test, since you don't really know an exposure date. You know it's not hsv negative guy, but I'm assuming you had multiple possible exposures with hsv2 positive guy, since he was your boyfriend, even though they were all condom-protected.

At least the 2/6 test gives you a starting date for a possible rise in numbers, and you don't have to wait until your actual last possible exposure with him.

Does that make sense? I don't know if it even makes sense to me lol. Was hsv negative guy before or after hsv positive guy? Do they overlap?

Is hsv negative confirmed negative by test?
Well, there was some crossover between those guys in the preceding months. Last unprotected sex with negative guy was 2/5 actually. Hsv positive guy was before and after with the last time ( not including the rubbing incident) 3/29, with condom always.

Re negative guy, it’s on his word that he took a blood test after I told him about the equivocal result, some time in Feb or early March. I don’t have a specific reason not to believe him, but I also haven’t seen the result, so...
Well, would he get a copy of the results if you asked him to? I would be interested to see his results just to make sure he was tested correctly. If you don't talk to him any longer, don't worry about it. We can still use your 2/6 date.
We have an odd relationship for one thing, and also being in quarantine out here adds to the difficulty.  I don't think I can really get a copy of the results, so I work on the assumption that he never got tested and just said that because I asked him if he tested.

I'm trying to decide now about the 3rd IgG or if I just try to go straight to western blot because I think unless the result is something completely over-the-top high positive, I'm still going to want the western blot anyway.

Another question - not sure if it should be a separate thread, but, my (now ex) boyfriend, as I said, also tested positive for HSV-1 at 32.6, while I was totally negative for that on both tests (just listed as below .90). I've read that the Quest ELISA test has a lot of false-negatives with HSV-1. How easy is it to get HSV-1 from someone through kissing, saliva, and oral sex? Perhaps I should worry about that as well....
Yes, the hsv1 IgG misses about 30% of infections, so it might be worth it to just get an hsv1 and hsv2 WB, and skip the IgGs. We don't have any transmission studies for hsv1, so we don't know how easy it is to get.

We know that oral hsv1 sheds frequently -

HSV 2 genital 15-30% of days evaluated

HSV 1 genital 3-5% of days evaluated
HSV 1 oral 25% of days evaluated

HSV 2 oral 1% of days evaluated

We don't know how much virus it takes to transmit to someone else, or if that's different from person to person (it probably is). We know that the most virus is present with an outbreak, but the amount of virus present with shedding can vary a lot.

How do you get a western blot test?
You can order the kit from here: http://depts.washington.edu/uwviro/herpes-serologies/  but then need a doctor and a local lab that are willing to get it done for you, so depends where you live. YOu can also contact Terri Warren (http://westoverheights.com), which is what I did when I lost all confidence in my own dr. who doesn't seem to know anything about herpes.
Yeah, unfortunately, a lot of doctors don't know a lot about herpes, but like to think they do.

OHGrate, if you have questions about your specific situation, we'd be happy to help. You can start your own thread by clicking/tapping on this - https://www.medhelp.org/posts/new_with_new_subject?forum_id=195
UPDATE (not sure if this should be a new thread or not)

So I ended up waiting to be absolutely sure 12 weeks from HSV positive guy, even though we used condoms. I am set to do the western blot next week and now I suddenly feel weird about it, like why am I even doing it?

Right now I am involved with two men casually who both know the whole saga and know that I may be positive. Neither one of them cares at all and we always use condoms. I'm wondering if there is any point in going through with it. I mean if having hsv2 is actually not the end of the world —it's mostly just a rash for people— and I'm being honest with my partners and I have no symptoms and therefore nothing to really medically treat, what does it matter what the western blot says?

Is this just my fear talking? Or is it a valid point? I'm really confused.... I've actually already had the consult and paid for the test, I just wonder what purpose is served by going through with it at this point. I really would appreciate any (respectful) thoughts people have on this.
Okay, so those are fair points.

But if you assume you have it (which is a pretty big stretch, based on your numbers), you are assuming you can't get it again. Even if you are having casual relationships now, maybe someday you'll meet someone who gets beyond the casual for you, and if he has hsv2 and you don't, that changes things, for prevention. If you got pregnant (if that's an interest for you), there would be concerns about you getting infected during pregnancy. I'm not at all suggesting that you not be with someone who has it, because I don't think herpes is ever a factor in determining whether you stay or leave in a relationship, but it can factor in at different times in that relationship.

If you have it, it probably wouldn't make any difference in your life. You aren't symptomatic, your current partners don't care.

What are you afraid of? Finding out either way for sure? Remember that a 1.15 has easily a 85% or higher chance of being a false positive. Even if it isn't a false positive, as you said, nothing should really change for you.  
I'm afraid it's positive and that they've only been okay with it because there was a chance I was negative, so they're overlooking it. I know it's not a rational thought really. I just don't want to ever bring it up again, I guess, and rock the boat.

I hear what you're saying about assuming I have it. I feel like I've kind of been assuming I DON'T have it since I haven't really had any problems (other than HSV positive guy breaking up with me: good riddance!), so I guess I just don't want to disrupt my blissful ignorance. I'm just being honest about this, not saying it's right.

I think I will go do the test this week, though, because otherwise, I will never know and always wonder, I think. Plus, I've kind of convinced myself that when the results come (they come from Terri Warren by email), I don't have to be in any rush to open the email. I really appreciate your response auntiejessi.
I get that thought process, actually. You're right that it's not totally rational, or healthy even, but I do get it. Like, why mess with it when it's working, at least on the face of things?

Of course, you're assuming that they are either dumb enough to have forgotten entirely about it (which is possible - I have it and had a guy forget entirely about it), or that they both can somehow react the same way and talk themselves into believing you don't have it, or that both haven't processed the info that there is a slight possibility that you have it and decided the small risk is worth it.

Let me know what happens. Whatever decision you make is fine.
Well, I got my blood drawn and had it sent for the western blot. I don’t know what I will do when the results come, but I’ll post here whatever happens.

(Just also want to say, for those who are worried about having to go really far to do the test, just call your local hospital. I called the two closest ones and both have outpatient labs in them who understand the process of drawing for a kit. I thought I was going to have to travel 3 hours to a lab Terri mentioned, but wound up doing it locally. It’s actually not a big deal really, in terms of logistics)
Oh that's awesome about finding a local lab. That's good info to have.

How long will it take to get results? Waiting is always the hardest part. Hang in there!
As i understand it, anywhere from 1 - 3 weeks, but like I said, I'm not sure I even want to open the email when it comes....
Of course, I know I will, but I might not rush to do that. I will definitely post when I have the answer.
Okay, well, cross that bridge when you get there. :)

Let me know what you decide to do when you get them. Hang in there.
I can't believe it. They already have the results...and they're NEGATIVE for hsv-1 & 2!!!!!!!
I just want to thank you auntiejessi for being here. It's such an incredibly alienating experience that I went through. Even though I do have several friends I talked to about it, having this space was really, really helpful to me. It's so important that people know about western blot and that, although it's a little more complicated and expensive than the ELISA, it's not really far out of people's range and can be done.
Actually, I now have another question. Do I have any ethica responsibility to tell my HSV2-positive ex-bf that I don't have it? He was certain I gave it to him, so I kind of want to tell him, but maybe that's not necessary?

Those results came in FAST, and I'm so happy for you. :)

If your ex-bf was blaming you so he didn't have to have a conversation with someone else, I can see telling him. If he was blaming you because he didn't want to take responsibility for having given it to you, I can absolutely understand wanting to tell him.

Ethically, I think it's entirely up to you. He knows he has it, so you aren't informing him so he can get tested, and maybe he'll let someone else from his past know, maybe he won't. You know him better than I do, so I think you can go with your gut on this. I also think it's perfectly okay and understandable if you want to let him know that you don't have it just to say, "Yep, I told you I didn't give it to you". It might not be the most mature route, but it's absolutely understandable. I would be very tempted to do it myself. Depending on the ex-bf, there's a really good chance I would lol.

Whatever you decide, I'm happy for YOU. :)

And really, you're welcome! We're here any time you have questions.

Just wanted to let you know I did tell him because I thought maybe he should talk to other women he was with before me.
His response was immediate: He told me to f--- off and never contact him again! LOL.
I really have learned so much from this experience. And I will never forget it when I hear someone make a joke about someone having herpes or if someone tells me they have it. And I certainly learned a lot about the men I spend time with.

I'm actually grateful to have gone through it.
Oh so he handled it well, I see lol.

I'm glad you learned a lot, and definitely glad you learned a lot about the men you spend time with. I always say that herpes is kind of a dating filter for me - if they're jerks or react immaturely, they aren't my guy (no one has ever been a jerk, btw, and no one has ever turned me down - one was pretty immature, though). It just allows me to move on to the next.

Take care of you and stay safe! We're here if you ever need us. :)
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