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michael1919 04-01-2021 11:41 AM

Acute Herpes Diagnosis - we're skeptical. Thoughts?
First post. Thanks for hearing me out.

Two weeks ago, my wife started to feel some pelvic discomfort and difficulty urinating. Within a few days, she started noticing painful sores or blisters on her genitals. Within three days of their appearance, she was examined by her OB/Gyn, who made a visual diagnosis of herpes, and ordered tests. I immediately had my own blood tests ordered at the same time.

1. Swab cultures from my wife's blisters returned NEGATIVE results.
2. My wife's blood tests (IGG) for HSV1 and HSV2 returned NEGATIVE results.
3. MY blood tests (IGG) for HSV1 and HSV2 also returned NEGATIVE results.

My wife and I have been married for 18 years, and we consider ourselves a mutually faithful, monogamous couple.

Although the doctor is refraining from making pronouncements about our personal lives/fidelity, after receiving the results, she's still fairly insistent that my wife (and I) carry HSV2, and that the negative blood tests results are caused by the short duration from the time of infection and the test date. The doctor's working theory is that the symptoms result from recent exposure to HSV2, and that blood tests held in 2-3 months will likely confirm this. (She chalks the negative swab test result up to bad luck).

Not very convincing. Adding to our skepticism? Quarantine. Lockdown. We live in a city with a lot of adherence to safety measures, and we've be a very observant family. Masks, distance learning for the kids, working remotely. If this is a recent infection, rather than one we might have carried long enough to produce measurable antibodies, it means contracting it while working from home. And social distancing. And homeschooling. I haven't been to the office in a year. My wife's even more homebound than I am - I'm the one making the Target runs while she watches the kids. We've been living in a cave.

My research tells me that a little uncertainty isn't uncommon when diagnosing herpes; we get that. But between this constellation of factors - her negative blood tests, my negative blood tests, her negative swab tests, and yes, quarantine - the diagnosis feels like a stretch, and we're frustrated with the OB/Gyn's reluctance to walk us through (or test for) any additional possibilities.

My wife fully intends to continue her round of Valtrex for the time being, and yes, to undergo additional blood tests in a few months. (We both expect negative results).

Aside from getting a second opinion, which we plan to, does anyone have any ideas? Theories? Thanks so much!

michael1919 06-21-2021 03:12 PM

Re: Acute Herpes Diagnosis - we're skeptical. Thoughts?
Update: it's been about 3 months. My wife and I have established new care with new physicians, and we each took a fresh panel of bloodwork STD tests. As back in May, all tests came back this week NEGATIVE. No herpes 1 or 2; no gonorrhea, chlamydia, etc etc etc.

Here's the kicker, though: my wife's new physician persists. "99.9% of the time, it's still herpes," she says. This means that based on... what? nothing but negative tests? Remember: in May, both she and I took hsv1 and hsv2 blood tests (negative all around), and cultures were taken from her active sores (negative). Now, over 3 months later, we've revisited full STD panel blood tests, all of which returned negative.

Why is the medical community so damn keen to issue herpes diagnoses not merely reflexively, but stubbornly, in the face of all evidence? Why is it so hard to find a doctor willing to explore other possible culprits for genital lesions?

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