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.

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