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Home Ask the Experts Ask the Experts How can I find out who I got herpes from?

How can I find out who I got herpes from?

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I believe my boyfriend infected me with HSV-2. When I confronted him, he put the blame on my ex. He says he heard through the grapevine my ex has it. If what he says is true, is there a test that would allow me to know if it was my current partner who infected me or my ex? A test that could distinguish my current boyfriend’s strain of HSV-2 versus past boyfriend’s strain? If so how, how much would this test cost and where can I get it?

One of the most common questions asked by newly diagnosed individuals is “Who infected me?” So your question is understandable. However, there are no commercially available tests that will allow you to differentiate between strains of HSV-2.

If none of the individuals involved have a documented HSV-2 negative test prior to a relationship, followed by a positive post-test to assist in extracting a timeline of infection, there is no way of knowing who the initial source of infection may be. However, if your ex-partner tests negative for HSV 2 antibody by IgG, you can know that he is not the source of your infection. Actually seeing the test printout vs hearing about them sometimes gives one more certainty about the results.

If the underlying question you are trying to answer regarding the diagnosis is whether your partner committed infidelity then perhaps you and your partner need to address this issue. However, do not think a herpes diagnosis is an automatic confirmation of infidelity, because that is not always the case. Remember, only about 10% of those with genital herpes are aware of their infection, so a positive test result is a surprise to many. Either partner in a couple may enter into a new relationship with genital herpes and have no knowledge of his or her infection.

Perhaps, couples counseling may be of help. Lastly, Dr. Rhoda Morrow in her previous interview with The Helper encourages those newly diagnosed to “Do all things you need to do to put your life around that and move ahead.” We encourage you to do the same.


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