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What causes a false positive result on herpes test?

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Posted on Thu, 26 May 2016
Question: Is it possible to have a false positive on my herpes tests? My boyfriend I've been with for 4 years have tested negative for both he haven't had any symptoms or outbreaks ever but I tested positive for both hsv      1and 2 ineverhad any symptoms or outbreaks ever my results where 90 negative 90-1.10 equivocal and1.10positive for both but again nothing NO sores burning nothing
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Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan (44 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
False-Positives are more commonly associated with IgM testing, not IgG

Detailed Answer:
Hello ma'am and welcome.

Thank you for writing to us.

I have gone through your query with diligence and would like you to know that I am here to help. There are a couple of facts I would like to state for your better understanding on the test and its results, they are:

+The major problem with HSV testing are the false-negative results. This is because due to certain factors the test result can provide a negative result, despite the individual actually having HSV. This also means that when a positive result is seen, it is almost always because the virus is present

+IgM testing does provide a false-positive result at times, and thus is considered less accurate than IgG testing. But as mentioned by you, you underwent IgG testing, and this is almost always accurate

+IgG testing is time consuming, mainly because it takes time for an individual to produce detectable levels of IgG antibodies. This also means that once a positive result is seen, it always indicates the presence of the virus

I am sorry to be informing you this, but these are facts ma'am. Do not worry, as your doctor will most certainly help you to deal and cope with the virus, and you can continue living life in a healthy manner. Many individuals, in fact around 20 % or more individuals with HSV are asymptomatic just like you. But if you wish you can go for a retest.

I hope you find my response helpful. Please feel free to write back to me for any further clarifications, I am always here to help.

Best wishes.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Shoaib Khan

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2009

Answered : 9409 Questions

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What causes a false positive result on herpes test?

Brief Answer: False-Positives are more commonly associated with IgM testing, not IgG Detailed Answer: Hello ma'am and welcome. Thank you for writing to us. I have gone through your query with diligence and would like you to know that I am here to help. There are a couple of facts I would like to state for your better understanding on the test and its results, they are: +The major problem with HSV testing are the false-negative results. This is because due to certain factors the test result can provide a negative result, despite the individual actually having HSV. This also means that when a positive result is seen, it is almost always because the virus is present +IgM testing does provide a false-positive result at times, and thus is considered less accurate than IgG testing. But as mentioned by you, you underwent IgG testing, and this is almost always accurate +IgG testing is time consuming, mainly because it takes time for an individual to produce detectable levels of IgG antibodies. This also means that once a positive result is seen, it always indicates the presence of the virus I am sorry to be informing you this, but these are facts ma'am. Do not worry, as your doctor will most certainly help you to deal and cope with the virus, and you can continue living life in a healthy manner. Many individuals, in fact around 20 % or more individuals with HSV are asymptomatic just like you. But if you wish you can go for a retest. I hope you find my response helpful. Please feel free to write back to me for any further clarifications, I am always here to help. Best wishes.