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How Do I Prove I Got Herpes From My Last Partner?

Rich Mancuso  |  Mar 24

How Do I Prove I Got Herpes From My Last Partner?

This question has been a thorn in many people’s sides for a long time and for obvious reasons. We all remember hearing this diagnosis and immediately wanting to find the culprit and point the finger. 

Who did this? 

Why me? 

How did I get this? 

Why did I get this?  

Occupying this particular head space and self reflection is quite common and can be just as mentally troublesome as herpes is. While it is still very difficult to pinpoint with 100% accuracy of the who and how you got this new infection, (one that can result in a lifelong disease), there are some ways to look at this using the factual information available on its behavior. After much thought, it would seem that the only way you can prove you did not have herpes prior to a new infection is having two previous tests, over an 8-12 moth period, that show that you are indeed, negative. 

Let’s pretend you saw your first outbreak in December, but you were never tested before. At this point there is no way to prove or disprove 100% of anything other than the fact that you have herpes. However, if you have been tested before like in the example below, it may help determine a time frame. 

  1. In August/September, your doctor performed an IgG HSV specific blood test (approx. 90 to 120 prior to December) and it showed seronegative for HSV 1, HSV 2 antibodies.
  2. In April/May, 90 to 120 days before August/September), your doctor performed an IgG HSV specific blood test and that one showed negative as well.

This is a possible way to state that you did not have herpes prior to this new infection.

Some doctors will performs a DNA swab (Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test, and 4 months after that, they confirm with an IGg (1) blood test. 

It should be obvious that this particular scenario is not without it’s faults. Even if you were to experience these events in perfect order, one would still be left with another burden of proof - to prove that during this time frame ( 8-12 months) you were not with anyone else or possibly exposed to the virus (kissing, touching). At that point all I can say is “good luck.”

FYI: False negative results are common if tested less than 4 months after acquiring the virus. This is the reason for the 4 - 6 month window of testing.

There also comes the deep and brooding pondering of how long have I had this, but unfortunately you cannot get this information by looking at your blood test results. These numbers are not an indicator of a duration of time, just your antibody levels. It simply means the immune system produced antibodies in response the infection, and so the presence of these antibodies means that at some point there was an infection somewhere in your body from herpes.

 Without these proper tests in hand, there really is no way to prove this new infection was indeed, a new one and let's not forget that close to 5 billion people carry herpes simplex and never even know it. You could be one of them too.

 In my opinion, with this information you would then have some proof that this new infection is a possible new one. Now, If you’re going to bring about charges or create a lawsuit of finger pointing against the person who infected you, you still need to be aware of the fear of your name becoming public and a possibility of losing the case. It is also important to note, (depending on the area in which you live), these facts may be up for scrutiny because this is still not 100% proof. So make sure your intentions to sue or press charges are something you wish to follow through with. I am not giving you any legal advice here, just my two cents.

Many, but not all, states have laws that criminalize the transmission of at least some types of STDs between people. These laws, and the penalties imposed by them, differ significantly among states. To learn about the laws surrounding transmitting an STD in your state, click here state by state laws for transmitting an STD.

State Statutes Explicitly Related to Sexually Transmitted Diseases in the United States

Footnote; (1) IgG type-specific (blood) - measures the “long term” antibodies found in the blood, most  commonly 4-6 MONTHS after acquiring HSV.  False negative results are common if tested less than 4 months after acquiring the virus, as there has not been time for the body to recognize the virus and produce sufficient antibodies. If you want to know if it is type 1 or 2, then you MUST ASK for the type-specific test. For more Info: Projectaccept.org

FUN FACTS: 

Up to 50% of positive HerpeSelect ELISA IgG herpes test (which is the most common), can sometimes be false. In fact, results whose values were close to the threshold value, have a 90% chance of being false positives. So a test result that is very close to the threshold value (around or just above) 1.1 might be false positive. Tests 3.0 and above are considered positive. 

Most people who were "exposed" to herpes (exposure means you are positive), have never experienced symptoms. This is 80% of the population of people who have either types of herpes, HSV-1 and/or HSV-2.  Typically, when people in this category do experience symptoms, more often than not, they are generally insignificant or unnoticeable. 

Originally posted on Asking For A Friend.


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