HSV Testing – Cautionary Tale

Apologies for 2 weeks without a post and this one being posted a few times without being completed. I did need a break though. My mental health needed to be focused on my “escape” and spending time with those who love me. On to the topic of the post now.

After ending my relationship, I went to a routine doctor’s visit. Given the split, my general physician recommended a full STD screening. I agreed, I figured what harm could it do. A week and a half later I get a call from my doctor with my results. On this call she stated, “you are a little positive for HSV 2.” HSV 2 or otherwise known as genital herpes is something I had tested negative for in the past, during my relationship. It is incurable. I was upset. Her way of consoling me was to tell me that pretty much everyone has it these days….

As a former researcher, you bet I educated myself. My findings were appalling.

  • Most doctors only know the basics about it and do not know of all the testing methods.
  • Not everyone has it, estimated that 25% of the sexually active population in the US are carriers.
  • Unfortunately some people believe they have it due to poor testing options. The 2 most affordable and common tests (the IGG and IGM) are VERY inaccurate, to the point of why are they even used.
  • The most accurate tests are if you have an active breakout to test or the Gold Standard, which I paid almost $500 in the end, only done by University of Washington.
  • Oh, those people who have false-positives and never got further testing… Some of them may have gone on to HSV positive dating websites and now really have it.

I communicated this to my doctor… She did very little to help me and her nurse made me feel as though it wasn’t worth her precious time. So I contacted my midwife, who a friend and her mom had helped me find. My midwife reassured me of everything I researched being true and was happy to help me get the gold standard test.
As I stated, I paid a lot of money for the Western Blot test, the gold standard in HSV testing, from the University of Washington. If you find yourself with a positive HSV result and it is a low positive, below 3.5 magnitude, then press your doctor for further testing.

I am negative for HSV 1 and HSV 2. After doing more research, I knew I had to be. I had no symptoms, my ex tested negative, and my false-positive results from the IGG were in a range that put me of having only a 10% chance of being positive.

The key part of this experience were my doctors. My general physician was really unkind about it and clearly did not know enough to be giving out this test. My midwife on the other hand was amazing. She consoled me, was educated about the inaccuracy of the IGG and IGM, and very willing to learn about and help me get the Western blot. It was all about the right doctor.

Uncertainty

A lot of my life right now feels uncertain. I will be moving in less than 2 weeks. I have only one Christmas present purchased for my niece (well 3 if you count a care package and my Reddit Secret Santa). I am waiting to hear back from an interview. I was rejected from half a dozen jobs this week.

I know that I have wonderful family and friends supporting me right now. I know I have a place to go no matter what happens. I know I need to get the rest of my sh*t packed up. My hope is that life comes together the way it always has in the past.

So bare with me… I may f*ck up a bit on posting.

The Value of Outside Perspective

Through the divorce process most people have been very supportive. They focus more on my mental health, listened when I really needed it and offered me a place to getaway to. My inner circle, as I call them, have advised me on the day to day stuff and how how I can take care of myself. Thank you, A, L, A, P, L and K.

They made me realize I wish I would have opened up to more people years ago about how I was being spoken to and treated. When I first entered this relationship, I was young and excited, but also knew I did not not have the full capacity to maintain a relationship in graduate school. A lot was asked of me and I gave more than I had. I also was made to feel that if I talked to others it would be hurtful since it could affect their opinion of him. That right there was a red flag.

It does not hurt to have a diverse set of perspectives on your personal situation, but know that you make the final decision. Talk to people that you value their opinion and deeply trust. While major issues should be discussed between you and your partner first, a poor impression can be a wake-up call if you are being honest about the situation.