7:15 pm - 10/27/2009

HSV 2 False Positive???

So I just came from my gyno. I'm really so elated I could cry.

March 2008, I had a full STD mark up done. I tested positive by the HerpesSelect IgG test for HSV2. Never had any symptoms. Never once. Then in July I had a high fever, a slight watery discharge and some tenderness... but never a sore. My doctor didn't even think it was an outbreak then - or when I mentioned it today. I was not on suppressive therapy until October 2008, when I met my boyfriend. I went on it just as a precaution, even though I had never had an outbreak.

Fast forward to today. My gyno conversation went something like this...

Dr. K - So, you've never had any symptoms, whatsoever?
Me - [fill him in on the July incident] but other than that none...I wasn't on any therapy for 8 months or so and then when I went on it, still no outbreaks.
Dr. K - Ok, well I don't want to get your hopes up but we use a newer highly sensitive test now called the Immunoblot. It's supposed to be 100% accurate, no errors. In this office I've seen 1 or 2 false positives with the other test. Since you have had no outbreaks at all you either have a very mild case or it was a false positive... I want you to have the new test.

UM DONE!!! I am having it on Thursday.

I don't wanna get my hopes up because I might be crushed all over again but OMFG!!!!!!! My boyfriend has said all this time "I really don't even think you have it!"

Has anyone heard of false positives with IgG? Is this too good to be true? Regardless, I'm saying my prayers!!!!
queensugar 28th-Oct-2009 01:09 am (UTC)
From what little I've read, false positives with the IgG tests are relatively rare; in one study, 100% of the labs that used IgG tests correctly identified a blood sample as HSV2-negative, despite a relatively high rate of false positives with older, non-GG blood tests.

Basically, I wouldn't put too much stock in the chance of having received a false positive. For what it's worth, many people who carry HSV never have outbreaks. Additionally, it's always possible that you actually have an oral infection, in which case outbreak frequency of HSV2 is less common, and sometimes never occurs at all.
ticklemepiink 28th-Oct-2009 01:22 am (UTC)
I don't know. All I know is my doc seemed very doubtful that my test had been accurate so I'm trusting him rather than the stuff read.
queensugar 28th-Oct-2009 02:00 am (UTC)
Fair enough, but in the spirit of your question and not wanting to get your hopes up only to have a disappointing answer, it's worth remembering that statistically, it is unlikely to be a false positive. Here are the actual stats for you; in sexually active adults, the kit I believe you used is 97% accurate in identifying HSV2-negative status in sexually active adults, and was 100% accurate on the CDC panel. (The immunoblot, as you can see in that chart, produces false positives as well, at relatively similar rates, and actually performed a little worse.)

Another way to get a better idea would be to see if you could find the exact numbers returned on the test. From what I've read, false positives tend to occur only in the lower range of returns -- several sources say a result of 5 or over is unlikely to be a false positive.
ticklemepiink 28th-Oct-2009 02:04 am (UTC)
My result was only a 3.1. It's still in the low range... which is up to a 3.5 I believe. I also just found a study... linked on this board...


that said that when compared with the WB test only 35% of HerpeSelect ELISA results were accurate in low positives. I know I shouldn't get my hopes up, but the facts are there...
officialtissue 28th-Oct-2009 08:00 pm (UTC)
i wanted to have a source for where i read that a 3.1 is pretty high but i cant find the exact one however,


an 0.9 is technically still negative, so like, a 1 would be a "low positive" but anything higher than that is pretty high

anyway, that page should help with your questions about testing and false positives
officialtissue 28th-Oct-2009 07:52 pm (UTC)
hsv tests are much more likely to give a false negative than a false positive. also, most - MOST - people who have hsv 2 do not have outbreaks so there is nothing unusual or unique about the fact that you havent had any sores.

also, as far as i know, a 3.1 is a high result indicating that the infection is not new and has been present for longer than 6 months. the people on that site you listed are morons and mostly in denial.

theres no such thing as a "low positive" with a virus. if your body produces antibodies, you have it.
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