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Active/Inactive status of HVS1 or HVS2

About microscopic forms of life, including Bacteria, Archea, protozoans, algae and fungi. Topics relating to viruses, viroids and prions also belong here.

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Active/Inactive status of HVS1 or HVS2

Postby pheonix » Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:16 am

Is there some way to test cells in the body to determine whether HSV1 or HSV2 is still active, or whether it is in a permanently inactive state, where transmission is no longer possible?

I know a blood test can confirm whether I've been exposed to type 1 or 2, by seeing whether the antigens show up in the blood; but if the virus DNA/RNA or any of its other parts cannot be found in blood, spinal fluid, etc., can a conclusion of permanent inactivity be made?

I was confirmed with HSV2 21 years ago, based on a single sore and other minor discomfort that lasted only three days. There were no other recurrences or symptoms thereafter. I know you can still shed virus while being asymptomatic, and that even shedding tends to decrease in consecutive years from the estimated 6-10% of days a year per year since first outbreak. Considering I've spent the last couple of decades in code orange or red stress - and no breakouts ever - is it possible the virus in me is inactive, and no longer transferable? If so, is there a definitive way to show it.
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Postby biohazard » Wed Jun 08, 2011 12:40 pm

If a person contracts with HSV1 or 2 the infection they often harbour the virus for the rest of their life. Vast majority of the Western population are seropositive for HSV1 and many with HSV2. However, in many persons this causes no problems whatsoever and many of the people with the virus do not even know they have the infection.

For HSV2 I do not see any special problem. In many cases there will never be another outbreak. And a person is not infective unless they have an ongoing primary infection or a reactivation of the latent virus. So unless one has sores, they do not spread the virus because it is "sleeping" in the neurons and is neatly contained there.

Certainly, if you have had no outbreaks for the last 21 years you do not spread the virus. The virus is either latent or completely eradicated by the immune system.

However, in some cases (though rarely) the virus can reactivate even after decades of dormancy. This is no different from the normal reactivation and typically causes the blisters to reappear and lasts a week or two, after which the active infection ends and the virus goes back to the latent state. During this time a person can of course transmit the disease, but the chances are lower because the reactivation of the latent infection causes usually mild symptoms because of the protective antibodies the person has.

As far as I know there is no way to tell whether you have a latent infection unless there is reactivation of the virus, because the antibodies remain positive in any case and there is really no practical ways to sample your central nervous system for the genome of the latent virus. Finding of the viral DNA from the cerebrospinal fluid strongly points to a viral meningitis, again a rare but sometimes serious complication. If viral DNA or antigens cannot be detected in the body of a seropositive person, it typically means that the person has no active infection and does not transmit the disease.

Where have you found out that you can shed the virus when being asymptomatic? As far as I know, even "asymptomatic" transmission requires that you have sores or other such lesions, though in the case of reactivation they may be small and hard to notice.

Finally, is there some special reason why you are so worried about this? Even if there happens to be a reactivation and you happen to be in a close contact with a person that is HSV1 or HSV2 negative and you manage to transmit the disease to them, they are not going to die of it (unless the person in question has a severe immunosuppression...)

Just don't kiss people (or have sex withe them) if you have visible lesions. Other times the chance of transmission is next to non-existent.

So, in a nutshell: people who've had a herpes lesion twenty years ago do not worry about it, why should you? :)
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Re: Active/Inactive status of HVS1 or HVS2

Postby pheonix » Wed Jun 08, 2011 5:08 pm

I come from one of those cultures where they prefer a woman dead rather than diseased. My husband gave it to me before we were married - he lied about having it; I married him to cover my shame. My grand master plan was to go to the grave with my secret; but being in my forties now, I just want to live in truth. I've finally gotten rid of him, but I've never had a sexual relationship/love. I'm in no apparent danger of a suitable mate, but as my father would say, "this is America." I suppose anything is possible.

I don't want to transmit to anyone else. I want to be honest about my status, but this being the pivotal trauma of my life, I can't speak of it. I thought I'd appeal to my intelligence and try a scientific approach. I am trying to get an appt. with an ID specialist, but they require me to see a fellow first, and I don't think I can do that - secretary thinks I'm
coming in for Lyme's. lolol.

In someone else's post, you said that in order for a virus to go inactive, there must be permanent changes to the proteins, lipid envelope or the nucleic acids of the virus. Isn't there some way to test for these changes? What if I did a PCR test - if the genetic material is not evident, is that proof of permanent inactivity? What about testing for antibody levels - does that tell you anything?

Is HSV analogous to/same as HVH? because I've read that seven days after infection with HVH, Immunoglobin M antibodies and IgG appear, and anti-herpes virus 1gM synthesis decreases. Complement-fixing antibodies may be measured; low titers of heterologous antibodies to HVH1 and 2 are found by tests. It said that HVH1 1gA complexes are non-infectious while HVH1 1gC are infectious. I don't know if that means anything for me, being that I'm looking at a type 2 version as far as know. But what if I was infected with type 1, different site of preference?

I understand that the nomenclature speaks to inactivity rather than death, because of how the virus can just hang out in your body, but is it possible that some immune systems can eradicate it entirely? The blood tests speak to exposure and antibodies, not to whether the virus is still there, in a latent state.

Is it really true that shedding exhibits physical symptoms??? Look it up, it says everywhere you can shed virus even if you are asymptomatic. Is it possible that the physical symptoms in a woman can be internal, with nothing on the skin?

I'm not in denial; I just need evidence that I can't transfer it, if that's the case. I want to know if I gave up a guy who makes good soups and salad, just for a pipe dream.

Thanks.
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Re: Active/Inactive status of HVS1 or HVS2

Postby biohazard » Thu Jun 09, 2011 7:40 am

pheonix wrote:I come from one of those cultures where they prefer a woman dead rather than diseased. My husband gave it to me before we were married - he lied about having it; I married him to cover my shame. My grand master plan was to go to the grave with my secret; but being in my forties now, I just want to live in truth. I've finally gotten rid of him, but I've never had a sexual relationship/love. I'm in no apparent danger of a suitable mate, but as my father would say, "this is America." I suppose anything is possible.


Ok, thanks for the clarification. I so much as expected that there might be some special circumstances behind this.

In someone else's post, you said that in order for a virus to go inactive, there must be permanent changes to the proteins, lipid envelope or the nucleic acids of the virus. Isn't there some way to test for these changes? What if I did a PCR test - if the genetic material is not evident, is that proof of permanent inactivity? What about testing for antibody levels - does that tell you anything?


This was in a different context and indeed, one has to be careful with the terms one uses with viruses. In practical terms, an inactivated virus is the same as a dead virus - when talking about viral particles themselves. However, with HSV infections, better term is viral latency, which means that there are no infectious viral particles, but the viral genome still persists in the body, within the genome of the body's own cells.

Thus, a PCR test will not really help determining the inactivation of a virus - a PCR can give a positive result even if all viral particles are "dead", so long as there is viral genetic material present in the sample. Latent viral DNA can be found with a PCR test if cells with the infected genome are tested. This does not give indication whether the virus will reactivate some day or not, though. Thus, PCR test could be used in your case to show whether you have a latent infection or not, but this would require a sample from the CNS which is risky, costly and troublesome, and I doubt any doctor would do that on a healthy patient.

Is HSV analogous to/same as HVH? because I've read that seven days after infection with HVH, Immunoglobin M antibodies and IgG appear, and anti-herpes virus 1gM synthesis decreases. Complement-fixing antibodies may be measured; low titers of heterologous antibodies to HVH1 and 2 are found by tests. It said that HVH1 1gA complexes are non-infectious while HVH1 1gC are infectious. I don't know if that means anything for me, being that I'm looking at a type 2 version as far as know. But what if I was infected with type 1, different site of preference?


The term HVH is unknown to me; I have always seen the abbreviation HSV used. I can just guess that HVH stands for something like human viral herpes, or so - even quick googling did not help me much. In any case, when talking about herpes viruses you should not have to worry about immune complexes any more, since it is very unlikely that you are having a reactivation of the infection right now and your immune system has got rid of the immune complexes related to the primary infection decades ago.

I understand that the nomenclature speaks to inactivity rather than death, because of how the virus can just hang out in your body, but is it possible that some immune systems can eradicate it entirely? The blood tests speak to exposure and antibodies, not to whether the virus is still there, in a latent state.


Yes, the body can eradicate viral infections completely and most often does this. After this, the antibodies are the only measurable thing that remains (along with memory T and B cells specific for the virus).

Herpes viruses are some of the few viruses that often enter latency, these include HSV1 and 2, as well as the varicella zoster virus, the Ebstein-Barr virus and other members of the herpes virus family. The CNS is protected from the body's own immune system and thus viruses sleeping inside neurons are safe, but normally they are also kept "trapped" within their host cells because immune cells will destroy any viral particles that try to escape from the neuron. If the immune function is compromised for some reason (stress, illness, immune suppression), the viruses may reactivate and cause a secondary infection - but in your case it seems very unlikely since over twenty years has passed without any clinical signs.

Is it really true that shedding exhibits physical symptoms??? Look it up, it says everywhere you can shed virus even if you are asymptomatic. Is it possible that the physical symptoms in a woman can be internal, with nothing on the skin?


Viral shedding can happen if you have a subclinical secondary infection, which means that the symptoms are so mild that you may not notice them. What I meant earlier is that you still need a sore or a lesion from which the viruses can exit your body and enter a new one. So unless you have a secondary infection you do not shed the virus even if you have a latent infection. As far as I know, herpes viruses do not even enter the bloodstream because they travel along the axons of neurons to the surface of the body.

So yes, you can have an ongoing secondary infection that you are not aware of. But since you haven't had any clinical signs of secondary infections to this date, it is highly unlikely that you would suddenly develop a subclinical infection. And in any case, most of the people are already infected with herpes viruses, so your infection would be unlikely to cause much harm anyway. But I guess it is completely up to you how you decide to deal with this matter, perhaps just tell people you have any closer relationship that you had a herpes infection twenty years ago and nothing since that. If you look at the people around you, most of them have carry around herpes viruses just as you may do.

I'm not in denial; I just need evidence that I can't transfer it, if that's the case. I want to know if I gave up a guy who makes good soups and salad, just for a pipe dream.

Thanks.


I'm afraid you cannot have an absolute, foolproof evidence of that in the case of herpes viruses, but heck don't give up any people because of an ancient HSV case! They probably have the virus themselves anyway... ;)

This being said, I admit that I may still not quite understand your situation and the possible cultural issues with women that have certain diseases. But I sincerely hope that something as mundane and common as a herpes infection does not manage to cause you any further problems - twenty years sounds awfully long time and should be well enough of worrying already!
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Re: Active/Inactive status of HVS1 or HVS2

Postby pheonix » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:26 pm

ok, thank you. i have to try and absorb the new info; may have to ask more later, but i get it...

like, maybe, my only real problem is finding a 6'4" 240lbs of steel biohazard-brain man.

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