HSV Blood Test Paranoia
January 15, 2013 12:07 AM Subscribe
No symptoms present, no evidence of exposure. To blood test or not to test?
posted by emoemu to health & fitness (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Per my usual protocol, I went to get comprehensive STD testing before exchanging bodily fluids with a new partner. I have never been offered an HSV blood test before, but I saw a new doctor this time who offered it. She said that typically most doctors do not offer the test unless people show symptoms, but I could get it “if I wanted to.” At first it sounded like a good idea, but the more time she gave me to think about it, the less good it sounded. So I delayed my blood test to give it more thought. Here are my concerns:
I have never shown symptoms of HSV-1 or HSV-2 but the doctor says that does not guarantee a negative result (i.e. Many people are asymptomatic carriers, or just haven't shown symptoms yet.) My major fear is: IF I get a positive result*, my anxiety and hypochondria will control my life, whether or not it is necessary to be concerned. I will worry about developing symptoms on a daily basis, and I will be more afraid of sexual contact than I already am.
However, I realize that STD testing is not really about me. It's mostly about protecting those I am intimate with. But if this is not a standard STD test that everyone would get, that complicates things. And if the stats of how many people are actually infected with HSV are accurate, wouldn't I just be freaking myself out about something that a large number of people have but so few know about?
Although I'm used to being the only “germaphobe” around a sea of saliva exchangers, I don't really think it will be good for me to be one of the only idiots who actually knows their status and gets to worry about it amongst a sea of ignorant folks who choose to live in oblivion to the fact that such a high number of people carry these infections. I've also never required my past partners to get this blood test so now if I get it, I'm pretty sure I'll require that my partner get it too (whether or not it is difficult or expensive for them to get...which it seems like it might be.) But why change my protocol just because someone is offering me something I wasn't offered before? Why become even more of a germaphobe/STD-aphobe than I already am, just because my doctor is offering me that opportunity?
Lastly, does anyone know if a positive result (or even getting the test in the first place) will have an affect on my individual health insurance coverage?
*Since 50-80% of the population has oral HSV-1, I am fairly certain I will test positive for that. Seeing the result on paper may still be somewhat upsetting/concerning/anxiety-inducing, though probably manageable. Since a much lower percentage of the population has HSV-2, and I am pretty careful, I am guessing I will get a negative result for that - and if not, it may cause serious stress - as a positive result for any STD test is wont to do.