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Old 08-20-2005, 10:48 AM   #1
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Are blood tests good indicators of herpes infections?

If the blood tests for HSV-1 and HSV-2 are high does that mean that you have herpes? Is their a similar blood test for shingles?

I would like to know which one of the three that I have since I have been to 3 doctors who have just looked at the patch on my back and they have differing opinions and none is sure which one of the three it is.

Is there a culture test also? One doctor said the only test was a biopsy (that sounded like BS).

 
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Old 08-20-2005, 08:06 PM   #2
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Re: Are blood tests good indicators of herpes infections?

There is a culture test and that would be your best bet. However, depending on how long the lesions have been present, a negative may not be conclusive. A culture is always type-specific, so it would give you an answer as to what is on your back. Shingles and herpes simplex do not tend to present the same, so I'm surprised your doctors don't agree. Also, some doctors refer to the culture as a biopsy, but with a true biopsy they usually cut the lesion out of your skin. I would just ask the doc to describe the biopsy procedure incase he is referring to the culture and then insist that it be cultured.

As for your initial question, I'm not sure what you mean by "high." there are certain levels at which you are still considered negative, but I don't recall the threshold off the top of my head. If your antibody levels are above that threshold, then yes it means you have herpes. If your hsv-1 and hsv-2 antibody levels are both higher than the thresholds then it would mean you have both types of herpes. Discuss the type of testing you had done with the doctor who ordered it. Not all blood tests are type-specific and some are not even specific enough to distinguish between herpes simplex and herpes zoster, which causes shingles. Yes, there are blood tests for shingles, which is also a herpes virus (herpes zoster, also called varicella-zoster).
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Old 08-21-2005, 09:10 PM   #3
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Re: Are blood tests good indicators of herpes infections?

I would guess shingles also. If it were me, I would ask for a blood test and culture. Acyclovir and valtrex will both treat either infection. The main difference between the two is that valtrex is more easily absorbed by the body so it only requires one daily dose.
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Old 08-21-2005, 10:23 PM   #4
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Re: Are blood tests good indicators of herpes infections?

Quote:
If it were me, I would ask for a blood test and culture.
1. I am already 10 days into the outbreak.......It looks almost healed but there are still about 10 little scabs left. Could they still do a culture. I did take pictures though.

2. Is it important to clarify that it is shingles for my medical records? What happens when a doctor diagnoses hsv?.........is it reported to the state and do you go into some database for people with hsv?

 
Old 08-22-2005, 12:17 PM   #5
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Re: Are blood tests good indicators of herpes infections?

They could do a culture, but a negative wouldn't be conclusive since you are 10 days into your outbreak. a positive would be conclusive.

HSV is not a reportable disease, so it would not get put into a database or anything. And, just FYI, with reportable diseases, only demographic information is shared, never identifying information like your name, address, or ssn. So you don't need to worry much about that. Nothing happens if you are dx with hsv. It will be documented in your medical record, as with any other dx, and they will offer treatment suggestions like they already have, nothing else. In my opinion, if you have a lifelong virus (which both shingles and hsv are) then it's important to know what you have. There's no reason to avoid an hsv diagnosis if it turns out that you have hsv. There's nothing wrong with it. and, if one doc said it is hsv and prescribed valtrex, then you have already been dx with it and it's been documented. Testing would just serve to give you the most accurate info and either confirm or disprove that dx.
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Old 08-22-2005, 06:18 PM   #6
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Re: Are blood tests good indicators of herpes infections?

Thank goodness we're not yet living in that ****-ish a society! Though our individual rights (especially to privacy) seem to be disappearing fast.

(OK, it beeped me out! So I'll say that fascist a society. It's probably a good idea not to say nzi.)

Last edited by backpacker; 08-22-2005 at 06:20 PM.

 
Old 08-22-2005, 11:39 PM   #7
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Exclamation Re: Are blood tests good indicators of herpes infections?

just read about the bloodtest. i had a herpes test at a hospital and it came back negative, but i know that i have it. they did a swab culture in my penis(god awful) during an outbreak. again, the test came back negative, but that was years ago and i KNOW i have herpes. every sign, and symptom and i use valtrex and it goes away. i do have a question for any of you?
when i get an outbreak, especially in the last year, i get a really strong tingling in my butt cheek, and back of hamstrings. this last outbreak never surfaced on my genital(penis) but 10 days later still have the really strong burning, tingling in the hamstring.??anyone get that? i have been taking acyclovir 2x a day but it hasnt gone away. bshire god bless

 
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