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HSV1 delaying HSV2 antibodies?


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Cross-posting this, as I believe its more appropriate for this category:

Hello forum,

So, 18 weeks ago I had a unprotected-enough genital and oral encounter, and ever since I have been having many classical HSV symptoms. It began with moderate redness and swelling around the penis glans (1-2 wks), proceeded to a case of pretty intense balanitis (3-4 wks), urethritis (5 wks), and later a pustule on the scrotum (10 wks) and some reoccurring redness on the penis glans after immune system was depressed (post-bouts of food-poisoning and heavy drinking). Even later, prob around weeks 12-14, I discovered some odd bumps on my soft palate and some swelling in my mouth.

Trouble, is, I have had 15 different examinations of my genitalia, and per the physicians (primary docs; STD clinicians; dermatologists; urologist) HSV was indicated in none of them. I have also had 8 different blood tests (all ELISA HerpeSelect IGG at weeks 1, 4, 5, 8, 12, 14, 16, 18; and [understandably worthless] IGM also at weeks 1, 4, 5, 8 and 16), and all of these came up negative for HSV2.

Now, I do have HSV1, since time immemorial, and am thinking that perhaps it has delayed my seroconversion. The experts Ive asked have suggested HSV1 does not significantly delay HSV2 antibodies, but Ive also seen some research showing that in fact it does.

The curveball, here, is that I saw my dentist during week 16, explained my concerns and showed him my mouth bumps. He was immediately suspect of HSV. He suggested it could be HSV1, which of course I do have. But the coincidence seems to clear. He took a PCR and a biopsy, and I now await those results. Meanwhile, two different dermatologists also looked inside my mouth and did not agree with suspecting HSV.

Does anyone agree that it could be plausible that my body has not yet made HSV2 antibodies, due to my existing HSV1

Any other advice anyone can share? It has been suggested that I get a Western Blot, but each time I get an IGG test I've thought that it would be the last time that I would need to be tested, especially once I got to 16 weeks. I'm scared over here.


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The studies suggest that there is an almost immaterial difference in the average HSV-2 seroconversion between those with HSV-1 and those without. Some suggest zero days, some up to 4 or 5 days.

What is clear though is that in terms of outliers that seroconvert in the 12-16 week period (maybe a couple of percent of those infected) the majority do seem to have HSV-1. You did the right thing in therefore in having an 18 week test. There is thus less than a 1% chance you have HSV-2 from the episode you describe.

This needs to be augmented with other issues such as symptoms. What you describe does not align strongly with herpes at all. Remember that the only reason we know that people are delayed seroconverters is that they usually have plenty of sores to swab, potentially related to the lack of antibodies?? Who knows. Point is that without swabbable sores, this reduces the chances this is herpes significantly.

Are you indicating that you received oral sex and there was no vaginal/anal sex? If this is the case then that reduces the odds most of all. HSV-2 of the mouth is incredibly rare and doesn't shed much at all, 1 day a year maybe! If you have oral then there is a risk to your mouth, but this again is reduced considerably by having HSV-1.

The odds are just too low to worry about, however the Westernblot result you could take as definitive and put this all behind you.


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