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Divorcing, Ex has HSV2, I was neg, now pos

I have a very sad story to tell.  I married a man with HSV2.  We have been together for almost 20 years, and in an increasingly unhappy marriage.   He is on supressive therapy and we have been using condoms for at least 7-8 years exclusively with very infrequent intercourse.  Every year I get tested for HSV1 and HSV2 and each time it's been negative.   My results last August for HSV2 were .91

Around christmas time we had sex, used a condom, and somehow he managed to leave the condom inside for me for 3 days.   I never noticed until it came out.   That was the last straw and we have since separated.

I recently have met the most wonderful man and with the thought of possibly having a new relationship, I ordered a full STD panel just to be on the safe side.  Well, my HSV2 came back OVER 5!   I have had no symptoms, but am feeling suicidal.  I just can't bear the thought of ever sharing this story or my situation with ANYONE.  I literally don't know how I can go on.

My question is:  It's probably likely that i was exposed with this last time and the condom situation.  However, it it possible for the virus to just be latent and then the stress of the divorce to cause the numbers to go high like this?  i.e. the immune system may be supressing it and then due to stress factors it just gives up?  

Is there anything I should do?  Should I get the western blot or another opinion?  How do I move on with my life?

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First, your test result is definitive:  there is no doubt you are infected with HSV-2.  Repeat testing by Western blot is not needed.

It is not possible to say when transmission occurred.  It could have been any time since your previous negative blood test.  I don't think you can necessarily attribute it to the missing condom episode.  If in retrospect you recall otherwise unexplained symptoms, such as a few days of genital itching or irritation that you didn't pay much attention to at the time, that might be a clue.

It is not possible that the infection was latent and only recently gave you the positive test result.  Some people believe that stress can trigger outbreaks, although the science doesn't actually support this idea.  But nobody has ever proposed that stress alters the body's antibody response to infection, which is what the blood test measures.  It doesn't happen.

As to moving on and living with herpes, a brief response in an online forum isn't the way to do it.  You need to start by reading about the disease; some reliable sources are listed below.  Find a herpes-knowledgeable health care provider.  The MedHelp herpes community forum is also a good place for ongoing advice; the moderator there can be very helpful.  Most important, don't panic:  almost everybody with newly diagnosed genital herpes is shocked and upset as you have been, but almost everybody comes to understand it's not the end of the world (and not the end of healthy, rewarding sex), with less life impact than you currently fear.  Sometimes counseling is part of the solution.  (Your anger shows, by the way. I'm not sure how inadvertantly leaving a condom behind is your husband's fault or why it should be the "last straw" in a relationship.)

Good websites for genital herpes information are those run by the American Social Health Association (www.ashastd.org); my former health department, where I wrote much of the herpes information myself (www.metrokc.gov/health/apu/std); CDC (www.cdc.gov/std); and the Westover Heights Clinic of Portland, OR (www.westoverheights.com).

I hope this helps.  Best wishes-- HHH, MD
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Avatar universal
I will add that this was the Herpes Select test that came back over 5
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