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Old 07-27-2009, 06:14 PM   #1
Newbie
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: portland, OR
Posts: 6
lewis19 HB User
False Positive Culture?

Hi,

My girlfriend of a few months told me prior to us having sex that she had Herpes. Since then we've used condoms. I understood the risks even with condom use. About a month ago, I started developing some rashy bumps around the base of my **** a few days after we had protected sex. A few more sprouted up in the same area. A Planned Parenthood nurse upon visual inspection said it was likely a bacterial staph infection due to the lack of sore openness. I assumed it was that (mainly b/c I had spent lots of time in public pools and hot tubs, exercised and sweated without having taken an immediate shower--all things that contribute to such infections) but used only a topical steroid cream the nurse prescribed me. Fast forward almost 3 weeks later and it hadn't started healing up much. A few more bumps emerged, but nothing open and pusy. Any sign of openness was due to the chafe from exercise.

I finally went to the doctor hoping for an antibiotic. I got one and the doctor also took what looked like a very sketchy swab (he was very old and could barely break open the tiny scabs I had and get a sample) for herpes.

My little bumps and sores started healing up the day I started my antibiotic. Today, after 3 days of the antibiotic and progressive healing each day, my herpes test results came back positive.

For the sake of disclosure, my sores never exhibited the same symptoms I'd read/seen/heard about for a first outbreak. No pain, no pus, no open sore, no itching.

I put a call in for the details of my test results (type 2 or 1 and other numbers), so as of now I'm not sure of those.

Sorry for the length of this! Here are my questions:

1) Is there a chance of a false positive culture test?

2) Since I haven't yet taken any meds specifically for Herpes, can a first outbreak heal itself on its own without any treatment at all??

3) Why does it seem like the staph infection antibiotics are working and yet I have a positive test result? If I've had herpes for a while now (always possible, I know, even though I've always been safe), and I know you can't ever pinpoint from a test when you actually contracted it, but is there any way to clear this particular "outbreak" of being the one that gave me the herpes virus?

Lots of q's. Sorry! I'm grateful for any answers. Thanks!

-L

 
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Old 07-27-2009, 06:50 PM   #2
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(female)
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: North East - CT
Posts: 901
Truthseek HB UserTruthseek HB UserTruthseek HB UserTruthseek HB User
Re: False Positive Culture?

Quote:
Originally Posted by lewis19 View Post
I put a call in for the details of my test results (type 2 or 1 and other numbers), so as of now I'm not sure of those.

Sorry for the length of this! Here are my questions:

1) Is there a chance of a false positive culture test?

2) Since I haven't yet taken any meds specifically for Herpes, can a first outbreak heal itself on its own without any treatment at all??

3) Why does it seem like the staph infection antibiotics are working and yet I have a positive test result? If I've had herpes for a while now (always possible, I know, even though I've always been safe), and I know you can't ever pinpoint from a test when you actually contracted it, but is there any way to clear this particular "outbreak" of being the one that gave me the herpes virus?

Lots of q's. Sorry! I'm grateful for any answers. Thanks!-L

1) It is possible to have a false NEGATIVE with a herpes culture because the swab has not detected enough 'fresh' virus in the swab. This usually happens when a swab is done on sores/lesions/bumps that are over 48 hours old. A POSITIVE herpes culture is 100% accurate. The swab will not detect herpes if it is not there. In order for the positive swab to be wrong, it would have to be gross human/lab error i.e. they switched your swab with someone elses. Labs have controls to prevent this.
2) The bumps/sores will heal on their own in your body's own time. Some people have things for days, some weeks, some never. Some people never take medications, it's a personal choice based upon how uncomfortable you are during an outbreak.
3) An outbreak can disrupt the normal immune cycle. You have bumps, you scratch, you itch, you spread bacteria onto sores/lesions etc. You keep checking yourself and try this and that to get them to go away. You could very easily also have a bacterial secondary infection and that's why the medicine was helping. Regarding pinpointing the when - the best thing is to get the swab done (call the doctor or lab and ask them to "TYPE IT - as 1 or 2") and an IgG blood test (like HerpeSelect) for both type 1 and 2. The type and the location is important as it can effect the number of outbreaks and shedding that occurs. If the swab is positve and the blood test is negative it GENERALLY means that this is a new infection. If the blood test also turns out positive the best you can do is say that you have had it approximately 3-4 months as that is how long (generally) it takes for your body to produce enough antibodies to be detected in the blood test.
__________________
HSV-2 positive. Found out 9-27-07. Flu-like symptom 6-7-07.
Year one outbreaks Sep Oct Nov Dec Apr Jun. Ugh.
Year two outbreaks Dec Apr/May

Last edited by Truthseek; 07-27-2009 at 06:52 PM.

 
Old 07-27-2009, 06:57 PM   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Mendocino County
Posts: 311
Ca.Girl2 HB User
Re: False Positive Culture?

Get yourself a blood test now. If it shows negative then assuming your swab/culture test is correct you can be sure its a first/new outbreak. Condoms do not protect you 100% from the virus. Its a skin on skin virus and theres more skin involved than a penis and vagina. I too was in the river of denial for a long time. I've only had the first outbreak. No oozing no nothing like others describe but it was obvious to me there was a problem. Hence my visit to the doctor. Much later I had a blood test done. As suspected Positive were the results. Also, I took nothing for the first outbreak and it cleared on its own. Not having outbreaks does not get us off the hook for passing it on to others.

Good luck

 
Old 07-27-2009, 08:18 PM   #4
Newbie
(male)
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: portland, OR
Posts: 6
lewis19 HB User
Re: False Positive Culture?

Thanks much for all the answers. One final Q: Along with my positive swab test, Does a positive blood test now (prior to the 3-4 month point) ENTIRELY rule out the cause of the positive test to be from the very latest activity which lead to the outbreak? is there any chance that the antibodies can emerge sooner than 3-4 months?

Not entirely in denial. There were just so many coincidences that could've pointed to something out. I feel I need to check all options, that's all.

I'm curious. My lady friend is very cool and caring but is going to be crushed and feel like **** for thinking she passed the virus on. She's reacted as good as anyone can and I've told her there's no way she should feel guilty--she informed me of everything up front. Maybe knowing I already had it softens the blow for her, who knows.

 
Old 07-28-2009, 04:19 AM   #5
Senior Veteran
(female)
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: North East - CT
Posts: 901
Truthseek HB UserTruthseek HB UserTruthseek HB UserTruthseek HB User
Re: False Positive Culture?

Some people will show the antibodies sooner and some later. There is a member here on the board that it took 6 months after her symptoms to have a positive blood test. That's why "GENERALLY" the 3-4 month mark is used as a measurement.

Unless you are a virgin and this was your first sexual partner ever, or have prior herpes testing history behind you, I'm afraid you won't get much closer than that 3-4 month window.
__________________
HSV-2 positive. Found out 9-27-07. Flu-like symptom 6-7-07.
Year one outbreaks Sep Oct Nov Dec Apr Jun. Ugh.
Year two outbreaks Dec Apr/May

 
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