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Herpes testing
Oct 11, 2000

Dear Ryan,

I had IgG antibody test few days after encounter which was negative. Then, another test showed positive after 3 months for Herpes 1 & 2. What is this meant to me?? I cannot have swab test done because I have not experienced any symptom or anything alert me at all.

Am I a carrier?? Is there a specific test for Herpes type 1 & 2 ?? Do you consider the test reliable??

My Infectious Disease doctor said I may overcome it that means "I don't have it". Is this possible???

Please have your opinion.

Response from Mr. Kull

A positive antibody test for herpes simplex virus (HSV) 1 and 2 would indicate that you have been infected with both types of HSV. Almost 90 percent of Americans are infected with HSV-1 (the type that typically causes cold sores/fever blisters around the mouth), mostly through non-sexual contact. Approximately 45 million, or one out of five, Americans above 12 years of age are infected with HSV-2 (the type that typically causes genital herpes). Most people with HSV-2 are not aware of their infection and do not experience symptoms. Being diagnosed with a primary episode of genital herpes is a strong predictor of having recurrent episodes during the first year, but the frequency and severity of episodes usually decreases over time. Episodes are most severe in people who are immune suppressed.

The real concern for people infected with HSV is the severity and frequency of outbreaks. For some people, symptoms of herpes can be uncomfortable and painful, emotionally stressful, and can interfere with relationships and sexual activity. HSV is most serious to an infant exposed to it during the birthing process.

If you haven't noticed symptoms yet, it is unlikely that you ever will. A positive HSV antibody test (which should be accurate) in no way indicates whether or not you will have any outbreaks of herpes. It seems that people remain infected with herpes, but the virus, for the most part, remains latent or inactive.

Call the National Herpes Hotline (919) 361-8488 if you have any more questions.

RMK



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