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positive guide to herpes disclosure



scared my husband may have cheated..

Hi, thank you all for reading. I don't know where to start. I feel very alone because I don't want to tell people I have this disease, and I don't know where it came from. Here is my background. I have been with my husband for 10 years. I have always had UTI's especially when pregnant, and normal amount of things like Yeast infections. I have noticed pimple like bumps ( one or two in the same place, but always assumed it was from shaving)but never any STD'S. My husband and I separated last year for 4 months after losing our stillborn son. We worked things out and this past year and a half has been great, except we tried for another baby and got pregnant with twins and ended up losing them as well in September. My body went through A LOT... The first doctor didn't remove everything so I had massive bleeding and pain for 6 weeks because he would not help, I had to get in with another doctor and have another surgery November 1st. My body did not start to return to normal until the end of November, and that is when my husband and I started being sexually active again. He had to go to china for a few weeks with his boss a month prior to that....On December 28th( we had only been sexually active maybe 5 times since his trip) or so I started to not feel good, nausea, cramping etc, I was diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis and given an antibiotic. A few days later, I noticed a TINY lesion ( not where I shave and saw the bumps like before)maybe half the size of a pencil eraser. It bother me only after wiping...I went in for my regular pap and told the doctor about my issue I was having and she swabbed it and said it was "very suspicious" the results came back yesterday and my IgG was 3.9... My husband has sworn his faithfulness and he is getting bloodwork done this week or next as well. My question is, Can I have had this either before our marriage or gotten it from him in the beginning, and just never had any noticeable symptoms and then have an outbreak? My doctor said she cant tell me if this is recent or old. We have been doing so wonderful, and we were suppose to start trying for another baby next month, and now I'm so scared and I don't know what to think. Also, is it possible for me to have had it for 10 years and him not have it? I want to believe my husband and move forward but I don't want to be naïve as well....


  • edited January 11
    I'm so sorry to hear of all your losses. That sounds absolutely devastating to a degree I can't even imagine.

    Yes, it's possible you've had it all along (if you had any partners prior to your husband). Also possible you acquired it more recently, but not within the last several weeks or you would not have had a 3.9 IgG test result. Possible the bumps were HSV related, possible they were not. This is one reason most people with HSV2 have no idea they have it. For most people, symptoms are so mild they are mistaken for things like razorburn, or they have no symptoms at all. Only 1 in 8 people with HSV2 are aware they have it. 7/8 who have it do not know. Your husband could be one of those who is unaware, or he may be uninfected. Women are more vulnerable to infection than men.

    As for future pregnancy, the greatest concern (by far) is contracting genital herpes (of either type) during late pregnancy when there isn't enough time to build antibodies prior to labor. If you do the math on neonatal herpes, you will see that it is actually more likely (though still uncommon) for a HSV- woman to become infected with genital HSV1 or HSV2 in late pregnancy and pass on neonatal herpes than it is for someone who is HSV2+ at the time of conception to pass on neonatal herpes during childbirth. There is a tiny risk, but it is even tinier than the risk to women who are HSV- upon becoming pregnant. Additionally, knowledge of your status allows you to take precautions such as antivirals in late pregnancy to decrease risk even further.

    I'm so sorry you're going through all this.
  • Thank you. From your opinion, does this 3.9 mean it could have been 8 or 9 weeks ago? Does the tiger number mean the newer
  • I can't answer that. I don't know. I've seen someone ask this question about a month after last exposure and the herpes expert said antibodies would not build that quickly. Don't know if it's possible after 2 months.
  • I meant higher not tiger
  • Is there a way for me to ask the expert?
  • edited January 11
    You can go to Westover Heights Q&A forum. I believe she charges $20 for a certain number of questions. I am not affiliated with her or the site in any way. I just respect her expertise. You can also search her forum to see if your question has already been asked.

    But keep in mind that even if you think you were infected recently, it doesn't mean your husband cheated. If he had any partners prior to you, he could have been carrying this virus since before you married.
  • I know... it's just weird that I randomly had these issues 8 weeks after he got back from a foreign country
  • I have seen where some people can have an IGG as high as 50, does this mean that the higher the number the longer your outbreak? If that's the case then if I did get this 10 years ago wouldn't my number be way higher than 3.9?
  • Nope, it does not mean that. My understanding is that anything > 3.5 is considered almost definitely a true positive (though there are exceptions) and it takes time for antibodies to build to that level which is why it is suggested to wait 12 weeks to test for highest accuracy. After those few months have passed, values can fluctuate within the positive range and do not indicate how long one has been infected. Levels don't just keep building in a straight line forever, apparently.
  • So why do some people have an IGG of 28, or 50, and others have them very low like in the 3.9 like me? If I were to retest again in a few months and the IGG number was higher, would that mean that this was still a fairly new infection and my body was still building up antibodies?
  • Nope. It's my understanding that once the value is in the positive range, there is no further meaning to the number as it can fluctuate. I don't know why it fluctuates, but I have read numerous times that the level no longer matters when it is a long established infection. It isn't like tree rings that continually increase with age, it just indicates an infection that was established more than several weeks back.
  • Ugh... so there's no way to know... that is my main thing, I just need to know if this is something that I got from when he was out of the country in November. I would have had contact around November 20th or so and then I tested positive January 8 with a 3.9 IGG
  • edited January 11
    If you truly feel a need to know, one option to narrow things down is to wait until you have more of those shaving bumps and get those swabbed to see if you've indeed been symptomatic for some time. For some people, symptoms are triggered by shaving. For others, symptoms can be triggered by having sex (especially rough sex) after not having sex for a while, so that could be another possibility if you two had been apart and then came back together. Edit to add: Fluctuating hormones can also be a trigger for people. This would include starting/ending new birth control, pregnancy, menstruation, perimenopause, menopause. Any abrupt changes in hormones.
  • I don't know much about your circumstances. A lot of that sounds really hard to go through, and I'm sorry.
    As far as your blood test results, that number would mean that you did not recently contract the virus. I don't think the number means much after showing positive, as there are a million factors that determine the volume of antibodies detected by the test.
    You can rest assured that the test results mean absolutely zero about your husband's behavior.
    If you are that concerned about him being unfaithful, it might be more appropriate to tactfully begin a discussion about your fear that he would sleep with someone else. Not in an accusatory way, and understanding that he may become very defensive and hurt just by initiating the topic, but it may be something you need to find assurance on. Even if it is just as simple as him telling you he won't.
  • edited January 13
    Your situation is not uncommon. I have been in a 15 year monogamous relationship and BAM I've got a classic primary genital herpes infection. My IgG came back negative so, in the absence of a false negative, I had to have gotten this from my husband. Did he cheat. No. Did I ask him. Yes. I had to ask, but I never thought he did. My hubby hasn't been tested because we don't really care since it doesn't change anything for us but the assumption is that my husband is an asymptomatic carrier and it took 15 years to transmit to me.

    When I saw my doctor I was shocked and dumbfounded. She told me she's usually shocked too. Not because this shows up out of nowhere but because so many couple's come in thinking their spouse cheated and had no idea herpes can show up like this.

    So, unfortunately no matter how much you unpack this it is not likely you'll ever know for sure. Do you have any reason not to trust your husband? If things are going good, if you trust your husband then let it go and move forward with your beautiful family.
  • I was diagnosed with HSV1 and HSV2 about a year after my divorce. I had no obvious symptoms. My ex-husband (once I told him) tested negative for both and we were together 16 years. So yes, it’s possible. Further, my index value for HSV1 was 44. I’ve never had a cold sore. And my index value for HSV2 was 3.27 (later confirmed with the western blot test) and since my ex was negative, it meant I’d had herpes for 18-25 years. Like @optimist said, beyond telling you whether you’re positive for antibodies or not, the index values mean nothing.

    Here’s the hard part—as you’ve already discovered: It’s probable you’ll never know when or where you got HSV. I know you’re searching for answers. I know you feel a need to know. The sooner you can get comfortable with uncertainty, the sooner you can move forward. HSV comes with a shitload of uncertainty.

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