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Anyway to tell WHEN?


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I'm 19 and recently contracted herpes. My girl and I have been together for nearly 3 years and both of us just contracted herpes about 2 weeks ago. She had her OB, and mine came about 3 or 4 days after her. She was with 1 person before me, I was a virgin before her. I'm about 99.9% positive that it didn't come from me and she swears up and down on her life that she hasn't been sleeping around or cheated on me or anything. She also doesn't think her previous partner had HSV-2. I'm pretty much past all the emotional stuff and have the "What's done is done" attitude. At this point I don't really care about her and I because I just want to know how this could happen in a monogamous relationship. So we just got our tests at the beginning of the week, still no results on the blood. Is there anyway to tell WHEN the virus was contracted?

Thanks for any help,


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Okay, so at this point I guess you have both had visual exams but are waiting on a definitive diagnosis by way of lab tests to be sure, right?

You say you are waiting on blood results. Did the doctors not do a swab/culture test? If not, that's too bad. A blood test can only tell you so much. It cannot say for sure that the symptoms in your genital area are caused by herpes. It can only say whether or not you have antibodies to herpes, which does mean you are infected, but not where the infection is.

It is pretty difficult to pinpoint when a person may have gotten herpes, unless they had a recent negative blood test beforehand.

It is quite possible your girlfriend got herpes from the one previous partner she had, and is having her first outbreak now. Herpes can lie dormant in the body for months, years or even decades before becoming active and causing an outbreak. It is a sneaky little virus! So don't consider this a reason to believe your girl has cheated. Unless you have some other reason to believe that, herpes by itself is not a good reason.

When you find out whether you have HSV1 or HSV2, it might shed some light on the situation. It is very possible one or both of you could have contracted oral herpes (usually caused by HSV1) by way of casual (non-sexual) contact. About 80% of adults in North America have that, and most of them do not know it because they don't have any recognizable symptoms. That is another way herpes is sneaky --- you can have no symptoms but still spread it by "asymptomatic viral shedding."

So anyway, it might be that you had it yourself first. Like I said before, most people get it when they are kids from something like a kiss on the cheek from their old auntie or sharing a saliva-covered toy with another child.

It is a shame that folks get hung up about figuring out WHEN. That only leads to the blame game. We shouldn't blame others for having a virus called herpes simplex, no more than we should blame them if they have a virus called influenza or varicella zoster (chickenpox).

When you said "at this point I don't really care about her and I," what do you mean? Are you bailing on the relationship because of this?

I hope you will educate yourself more about herpes. This site is a good place to do that. The links on the right side of this page are very informative and can help you understand how it works.

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Hi Pete, The bloodwork will be helpful maybe. If your bloodwork shows you to be negative, but your swab culture showed you to be positive, this means your case is newly acquired as it takes a few weeks-a few months to have the bloodwork show positive for herpes antibodies. It is very possible your gf has had this for a few years and symptoms did not happen until now.

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Nah they didnt do the swab test because the sores weren't uhm...open I guess? I'm pretty sure I had HSV-1. A pimple on the lip once in awhile that was painful and stayed for about 5 days. Never looked like any of the pictures I've seen for HSV-1 but I suppose thats what it is since I've had it since I was very young.

Not bailing but just trying to prepare for the worst. I mean I just can't go on and live life normally with her unless I know how this happened.

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If you already had type 1, you may have given it to her via oral sex. This virus is sneaky, and if I were you I would take her at her word. The blame game solves nothing for anyone. It will drive you nuts if you let it. Regardless of who gave it to who, you are the SAME people that you were before contracting this. Just try to be understanding, and ya'll can get thru this together.

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I also don't quite understand this.. Let's say that one of us was a carrier this whole time. We've had unprotected sex for a year or year and half now. How could we have our first outbreaks at almost the same time a week ago? I mean I understand the virus can lay dormant and all that but aren't the odds of that situation a bit astronomical?

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Just my personal opinion, but the "odds" when it comes to herpes are meaningless.

Because of asymptomatic viral shedding, you never know when you might be able to spread the virus.

So let's say you were shedding your oral herpes at some point recently. Let's say you did oral sex right at that point and she picked up a case of genital herpes. Let's further say that she was then infectious from her genital area and you guys had penetrative sex, which passed the virus to your genitals. Just one possible scenario.

Let's say she had asymptomatic genital herpes all along. Let's say she was shedding recently and you guys had penetrative sex, at which time you got infected. A few days later, you had your primary outbreak. At the same time, she had an outbreak with recognizable symptoms for the first time, possibly triggered by your sexual activity at a time when the virus was at the surface for her.

Now...turn the above scenario around and switch who had genital herpes to begin with. Now you are the one who had it, an outbreak was on it's way, and so you were shedding. You gave it to her and she had an outbreak within a few days. At about the same time, your outbreak formed symptoms as well.

These are all viable sceanarios. There are many possibilities. Most folks are lucky if they even have a fairly solid suspicion of who/when they got herpes. You may NEVER know exactly what happened. So if that is what you need to live your life "normally," knowledge of exactly how this happened, you may be very sadly disappointed.

Like elm said, if that is what you are fixated on, it really sounds like you want to blame her and exonerate yourself.

Consider this: you know you get oral cold sores. So you had the potential to give her herpes all along. Are you willing to accept the responsibility for that? Do you expect her to blame you if that is the case?

Just some stuff to think about...


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Thanks elm and gal,

You helped me kinda open my eyes and heart to my situation. When the blood tests results come in, if there are antigens detected is it just a general antigen or are they specified for HSV-1 and 2.

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That would depend on the test ordered. If it was type specific, then it will let you know if its 1 or 2. It may also just test for the presence of antibodies. One more thing I wanted to tell you, neither of you intentionally passed this to the other. Try to remember that. Be good to each other!

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The accurate tests, the sort you want to get, are what are called Type Specific IgG-based Herpes blood tests. They will indicate whether or not you have antibodies for either or both types of HSV.

Some of the less reliable tests are old technology that only detect IgM antibodies. These are not recommended.

I hope the docs you went to did the right test on you guys. Please let us know when your results come in, especially if there is any confusion with them.

Oh, and just to warn you --- even though the Herpeselect test is one of the reliable ones, there is a problem with the reference ranges for that test which many doctors do not recognize. So if you get a "positive" result on that test, let us know your exact numbers, okay? Anything below 3.5 on that test may not actually be a positive result, despite what the reference ranges state.

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      @WilsoInAus saw you responded to others, would appreciate any thoughts.
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