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HSV test found positive. Can it be due to other viruses?

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Dear doctor, I am a 22 years old female. I used to be sexually active with my boyfriend and some other guys. I felt myself had shingles last year. II haven’t got it testes but I have been experiencing internal leg pain in nerves. However, I haven’t experienced blisters or sores at that time. Recently, I was tested positive for HSV virus as my blood contained HSV2 antibodies. I think this result is false as shingles virus may have given a false positive in herpes virus test. Can it be so? I have been on acyclovir for a year from now. Now this is affecting my life badly. I need some information about it. Please help. Is it worthy to go for a retest after some days, in another health centre?


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Category: Family Physician-GP
Dr. John Monheit is online now

Expert:  Dr. John Monheit replied 4 Days.

It is unfortunate that you were tested positive for HSV 2. Both the infections, shingles and herpes are caused by viruses. But shingles is caused by Varicella Zoster Virus and HEV is Herpes Simplex Virus. Shingles causes painful rashes in any part of body. It usually appears as bands of blisters in back or chest. It even covers one area of breast bone. It is the same virus which causes chicken pox. It is caused by inactive virus going active after first successful chicken pox outbreak. After outbreak this virus lives inactive in and around nerves in spinal cord and brain. After some time, it will get reactivated and become shingles. But, contradicting to it, HSV 2 uses sores in the genital areas like on or around the vagina or penis. HSV type 2 also causes the herpes infection even in new born babies who are delivered vaginally from women who had genital herpes. It can spread even if the woman has not had any outbreaks currently. HSV type 2 is usually spread by sexual contact with infected people. HSV type 2 can sometimes cause mouth sores also, caused through oral sex. Both type 1 and type 2 are two different types of virus. Positive antibody for HSV type 2 detected in the HSV type 2 test will not mean that you have shingles. To rule out a chance of shingles, it is better to take a PCR test, which is one of the most accurate test for finding genital herpes. But it is an expensive test but is accurate and you can rule out a chance of any of the disease as the result is the most accurate one.


Dr. John Monheit
Category: Family Physician-GP
Experience: 
Residecny: North Colorado Family Medicine
Medical School: The Chicago Medical Center
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