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Negative blood tests after 2 yrs and a positive culture

Discussion in 'Herpes Tests and Diagnosis' started by purpleflamingo, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. I was diagnosed by swab culture 2 years ago and recently got two blood tests over the last two months to type my HSV. I assumed I have HSV-1 that I contracted genitally from an ex, but for closure reasons, I wanted to be positive.

    Both tests came back negative across the board, for both types, each time.

    I am dumbfounded and so lost. Trying to research this, as I have not ever heard of situations like this.

    I haven't had an outbreak in probably a year or so, and I am not on suppressive therapy medications.

    I had my tonsils out in December because I was having ulcers show up on them and I was positive those were related to my HSV.

    Anything anybody can tell me would help. Thanks for your time.
  2. wondering333

    wondering333 No longer a member

  3. I think it was HerpesSelect, or one very similar. I'll look into finding out... would that make a huge difference?

    Whats the most accurate blood test?
  4. wondering333

    wondering333 No longer a member

    There are probably much more experienced people on here, but as far as I know the Herpeselect is a very reliable test, and that two years is definitely long enough to show up.

    I would recommend getting the test again or maybe the westernblot as a confirmation.

    Have you had other outbreaks in general? If so the next time you have an outbreak get another swab test.

    Maybe the initial swab was wrong?
  5. tracyp

    tracyp Member


    Ya that is very weird that you have been cultured positive but negative blood tests. Very weird. I havent heard of that happening either.
  6. ntdc

    ntdc Well-Known Member

    positive culture is positive, you can have a WB to confirm but its a huge waste of money at this point. Why did you bother with a blood test anyway.
  7. AudreyJean

    AudreyJean Newbie

    Blood work vs. Culture

    Hi! I had a positive swab culture of the sore in question. But I have decided to have bloodwork done as well just to make sure that there wasn't some sort of lab error. You never know, accidents happen. The doctor didn't think it looked like a herpes lesion. I'm not sure which type of bloodtest it was.......igg.......something like that. I will let you know.
  8. jericho

    jericho Active Member

    gah! double post.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2009
  9. jericho

    jericho Active Member

    I'm surprised they didn't type the strain when they did the swab culture.

    The HSV-1 ELISA IgG test has a false negative rate of roughly 10%, while the equivalent HSV-2 test has a much smaller false negative rate. This seems to line up with your suspicion that you have GHSV-1.

    Since you've had at least 2 outbreaks, and a positive culture, odds are the blood test is giving you a false negative, but I don't think anyone can fault you for wanting confirmation to make sure there wasn't a mixup with the swab culture.

    As suggested in a prior post, you can wait for another outbreak and have that cultured, but you could be waiting a long time. Repeating the same blood test probably isn't going to give you meaningfully different results - you may go from <0.90 to some low positive result, but probably not to 3.0+. Did you have both blood tests performed within a short timeframe?

    As you probably know, WB is expensive. Another alternative of limited value in this situation is the Biokit HSV-2 test - a negative here, in addition to the negatives from the earlier tests will pretty much rule out HSV-2. But you're still left with the HSV-1 issue.

    There's also the HerpeSelect Immunoblot, assuming that your earlier test was the HerpeSelect ELISA. Not sure this can be expected to show a different result, but you might want to check with an expert on STD testing.
  10. U probably wanted to know what type?

    You must have wanted to know which type you had? I would want to know too.... I am going to have another type- test as well. My culture was positive (not type sensitive) but my blood (type specific) was negative 9 months later. No break outs since then..... but it is nice to know. I will let you know how mine turns out.
  11. ntdc

    ntdc Well-Known Member

    It is claimed the Immunoblot is not a confirmatory test for the ELISA *however* they list its sensitivity to HSV-1 to be 99% in the Immunoblot and only 92% in the ELISA. I would say it may be a cheaper alternative to a WB if its actually 99% accurate compared to a WB.
  12. CourtneyX

    CourtneyX Newbie

    Finally, I'm not the only one!

    Hi all,

    10 years ago I contracted HSV-1 oral to genital. I never had another outbreak. 1 year ago I was reminded of that tingling I will never forget. I went to the doctor and she was unconvinced it was an outbreak and treated me for a vaginal infection. I still wasn't feeling better, so I went back to the gyno five days later and got the swab test. It came back positive for HSV-2. I was shocked because my partner had recently been tested and his blood test came back negative. I took antivirals and 6 mos went by without the common reoccurance I read about. I decided to get a blood test. The blood test came back positive HSV-1, negative HSV-2. Maybe this was just a fluke. I got a blood test again four months after (10 months total since possible exposure). Same results--positive HSV-1, negative HSV-2. Are the swab/culture tests really smarter than two blood tests months apart?? I find it hard to believe.

    Hope this stupid virus isn't getting you down!
  13. jericho

    jericho Active Member

    Strange. I would think the odds of a false positive culture (basically an error on the part of the lab techs) would be lower than the odds of a false negative on the blood test. I assume the blood test was an IGG type specific test?

    For resolution, you can try another swab culture if you feel any symptoms or go for the WB.
  14. melanie.is

    melanie.is Newbie

    I had the same thing happen and have been asking the same questions (see my post directly above yours).

    I also think it's pretty common. My friend L (who I met here) got a negative blood test after coming around to accepting and even appreciating having H; My friend K. was so devastated about one positive blood test that she went back and got a second - it was negative and she's so happy about this that she swears to never get tested again.

    Certainly it makes conversations harder. All those conversations with people who sound self-righteous and proud of their recent negative blood tests despite having slept with 60 people? Right.
  15. purplegoddess8591

    purplegoddess8591 Active Member

    well to my knowledge 5 % of the population that is exposed to the virus rejects it. my friend whom is very wealthy used to have cancer. and when his cancer was in remission along with his tests for cancer every 6 months they would do an std test because stds could have more of a effect on him since his immune system was so low. he was married to someone who got cold sores all of the time. she must have kissed him at one point when she had one or was shedding because his doctor informed him that he was exposed and actually expressed concern informing him that because his immune system was so low because of the cancer he would probably getthem realy really bad.

    well he never got one and then a year later when he got another std test his hsv exposure came back negative! the virus wasnt in his system :/ he then contacted a disease specialist. his disease specialist did another test for him and said the same thing that he tested negative. she informed him that 5% of the population that is exposed to the virus, just have that immune system that totally rejects the virus and then theyre negative even when they already had positive results.

    so maybe this was ur case. when u went you were recently exposed but in all the time thats passed your body rejected it? the only thing thats different between you and him is that he never once had an outbreak and u say u did
  16. Supporting

    Supporting Active Member


    Some people may be "immune" or highly resistant to acquiring HSV, but their immune system can NOT simply fight it off & eradicate it once infected. There is so such thing as only being "exposed;" you either have it or you don't.

    As for your friend, I'm assuming he tested positive for HSV I (due to cold sores). He may have tested negative later because even the best tests miss every 1 out of every 10 HSV I infections.

    Per Dr. HHH, up to 15% of people don't develop antibodies to HSV I that are detectable on current IgG tests (up to 10% with HSV II) but this isn't his case if he previously tested positive.
  17. purplegoddess8591

    purplegoddess8591 Active Member

    1day at a time

    my friend got tested a few different times after his original positive diagnosis and tested negative for it. i think a disease specialist knows a little bit more than any of us on this site...as well educated as some of us might be.
  18. pazdelmar

    pazdelmar Active Member

    I had a cold sore when I was 15 or 16. I clearly remember my dctor telling my mom: "yes, it is herpes". It never came back. Ten years later, I contracted genital herpes. Then two years later, I took a blood test to see what type I had contrated genitally (I already knew that I had hsv-1 due to my previous coldsore, so basically I wanted to confirm/discard hsv-2)
    To my surprise, I was possitive to hsv-2 (IGg was 2.0) and negative to hsv-1. I asked the PA why was that, if that meant that I had hsv-2 orally when I was 15 (note that I starte my sexual activity -even my first kiss- at the age of 18 ) and he said that it was unlikely to have hsv-2 orally, specially when someone is not sexually active.
    He said that probably, my body handled the hsv-1 well, and it went to undetectable values???
    Anyhow, I will never have the answer to that. I do know however that I have g-hsv-2.

    Purpleflamingo, the human body is a mistery. Anything can happen. And humans make mistakes; some other people call it miracles.
  19. Supporting

    Supporting Active Member

    Once a person is infected w/ HSV, it's there for life. Yes, it is possible for HSV to fall to undetectable values (or not be picked up on tests, especially due to their lack of sensitivity to HSV I). But that does not mean the body has successfully rejected or eradicated the virus. I, too, have seen people test negative multiple times after testing positive....but later, unfortunately, had an outbreak or another positive test.

    You would think that a disease specialist would know everything, but the sad truth is, they don't. Most doctors -- even specialists -- are shockingly ignorant when it comes to HSV. I base everything of what I say on 3 STD specialists who have a cumulative experience in HSV of 100 years.

    But of course, everyone will believe the specialists they choose to believe. I firmly believe that the virus remains in the body for life (until we find some kind of cure or something close to it). That's just my opinion, though & I realize not everyone holds those views.
  20. jericho

    jericho Active Member

    I agree with what 1DayAtATime is saying - once the virus reaches the nerves, there is no way for the body to attack the viral copies stored in the nerve cells. It is permanent at that point.

    pazdelmar, your situation has a relatively simple explanation. Assuming the initial cold sore diagnosis was correct, you probably fall into the ~10% of HSV1+ people who test negative via IGG tests. If you want to pursue your HSV1 status, you can try the WB test which uses more antigens than the Herpeselect or Captia IGG tests.

    For those who are interested, a great resource on technical HSV issues is windy over at the racoon forum.
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