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Tested positive for hsv 2 and tested negative for igm. What does this mean?

Answered by
Dr. Rakhi Tayal


Practicing since :2001

Answered : 13069 Questions

Posted on Tue, 8 Jan 2013 in X-ray, Lab tests and Scans
Question: I tested positive for hsv 2. However, the igm specific test for herpes was negative. What does that mean?
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 1 hour later
Thanks for posting your query.
Herpes blood test is a relatively non specific test and false positive is commonly seen in asymptomatic individuals. It is recommended-
1) when someone has genital symptoms that might be related to herpes, and
2) when someone has a sex partner with symptomatic genital herpes.
Since the more specific test- IgM is negative, you are not currently infected with herpes.
Hope this answers your query. I will be glad to answer the follow up queries that you have.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Rakhi Tayal.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Rakhi Tayal 13 hours later
Dr. Tayal,
Thank you for your reply. I have received mixed messages from 2 different physicians and become even more confused when I read the various discussion boards.
When the hsv 2 test came back positive, I was given the option of ..
1) waiting to see if an outbreak occured
2) taking medication to prevent a possible outbreak
Another physician said that I did not need to take anything and ordered the Igm specific test. When it came back negative, he said I did not have it, I was just exposed which was the reason I had a positive test. He compared it to a positive TB test ( exposure vs. actually having TB). I have read many articles citing the Igm tests as worthless. I need clarity, as this has really thrown my partner and myself for a loop. I need to know if this is something that I need to be concerned about.
Does "not currently infected" mean that I could have symptoms later or does it mean that I do not have it?
Do I need to take "suppressive" therapy medications?
I just need to be sure.

Thank you

Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 9 hours later
Thanks for writing again.
IgM test for HSV-2 is a specific test with less false positives. Since the IgM test is negative, there is no infection in your body and there is no need to take any medicines prophylactically. The test you got positive is likely to be due to an exposure you had.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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