Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Can I Test Myself For Herpes

How Much Is A Herpes Test

Protecting Against Herpes

Although some insurance plans cover STD testing, many people prefer to pay for testing out of pocket. The price will depend on the clinic and whether you are doing multiple tests at once. It is not uncommon to pay a minimum of $50 for herpes tests.

If you are sexually active, you need to take a responsible approach to sexual health. That can include talking with your doctor to decide which STD test is/are right for you.***

When To Test For Herpes

You should consider getting a herpes test if:

  • You experience herpes symptoms such as small white blisters or red bumps in the genital area
  • Pain in the genital area
  • Itching in the genital area
  • Ulcers in the genital area
  • Sores or blisters around the mouth after you have had oral sex
  • You have had unprotected sex
  • You have a sex partner who has herpes
  • You have multiple sex partners and havent been tested recently
  • Your sex partner has multiple other sex partners and hasnt been tested recently

The best time to get tested for herpes is after 12 days, which is the length of the incubation period for the infection. However, if you have had an initial outbreak, you should get tested right away. If you think you have been exposed to herpes, you should stop all sexual activity until you can be diagnosed.

Sample Collection And Analysis

Your clinician will collect a small blood sample from you. This will normally be done with a lancet which will be used to prick your finger. They will add you blood to the testing cassette with two drops of buffer. There are three sections to Better2Knows Herpes testing cassette where lines may appear, one of these is a control line which confirms the test has run correctly.

If there are three lines showing on the test cassette, then you have tested positive for Herpes IgM and IgG antibodies. If there are only two lines you have tested positive for either IgM or IgG antibodies, depending on which line has appeared. If there is only one line, this being the control line, then your instant Herpes test is negative for infection.

Recommended Reading: Will Valtrex Prevent Herpes Outbreaks

Whats Inside A Herpes Home Testing Kit

At-home STD tests usually perform blood tests and collect a finger prick blood sample. Everything you need to collect blood is present in the test kits.

When you open your package, youll find:

  • Instruction manual a step-by-step guide on how to use your test kit
  • Alcohol wipes used to clean your finger before collecting blood
  • Sterile lancets used to prick your finger to get blood samples
  • Gauze cleans off the first drop of blood
  • Bandaids used to dress your finger after sample collection.
  • Blood collection tube contains an anticoagulant that preserves your sample
  • Biohazard bag place your blood samples in this bag to secure them for transport.
  • Return envelope send your samples to the lab for blood testing

Reliability And Choosing A Home Test

Herpes Home Test

People who are considering buying a home test may wish to seek advice from a pharmacist on which test is likely to be best for them. The pharmacist may also be able to show them how to collect the sample at home to prevent inaccuracies.

People who are looking for an at-home herpes test should consider the following before making a purchase:

  • Clear information: The company should offer all the information that a person needs for testing, including clear and complete instructions.
  • Consultations: Some companies offer consultations for people who wish to discuss their sexual health concerns, particularly if they receive a positive result.
  • Treatment plan: Online providers may suggest further testing or treatment depending on the individuals results and concerns.
  • Certified laboratories: Some companies work with laboratories with

Anyone who has sexual contact with someone who has received a herpes diagnosis should contact a doctor as soon as possible.

People who have received a positive test result may also wish to consider seeking medical advice.

Currently, herpes is not curable, but doctors can prescribe medications to reduce the frequency and severity of the symptoms. This may help lower the chance of the infection spreading to other individuals.

Below are some common questions about at-home herpes tests.

Also Check: Where Can I Get Checked For Herpes

Can You Test For Herpes Without Symptoms

If you think you have been exposed to herpes but do not have symptoms, you should still get tested. In the absence of blisters or sores, you will need to take a blood test, rather than a swab test. For a swab test to be accurate, a sample of cells or fluid must be taken from blisters.

You can arrange a blood test for herpes at your local sexual health clinic. A blood sample will be taken from a vein in the arm with a small needle. The blood will then be transferred to a vial or test tube for laboratory testing. It is a quick process that takes less than five minutes.

When Should I Talk With A Doctor

If you have a primary care doctor who you regularly visit, you can share your results with them to provide better insight into your next steps.

If you dont have a primary care doctor, you can consult with a physician or nurse from the testing site about treatment options.

If youve been treating your symptoms with medication and are still in pain or discomfort, reach out to a healthcare professional.

Read Also: Can Herpes Type 2 Be Cured

How Long Does It Take For Symptoms Of Herpes To Appear

It generally takes anywhere from 4 to 7 days for herpes symptoms to appear. Both genital and oral herpes outbreaks have similar symptoms.

The primary symptom of a herpes outbreak is sores that resemble blisters, called herpes lesions, on the mouth or genitals.

In addition, people may also experience the following symptoms prior to the outbreak:

  • pain and redness, especially around the area the outbreak will occur
  • itching and tingling, primarily in the outbreak area
  • flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, or swollen lymph nodes

Most of the symptoms that occur before an outbreak indicate that the virus is replicating. Symptoms are usually the worst during the first herpes outbreak.

According to the

Some people with the herpes virus are asymptomatic, which means that they dont experience any physical symptoms of the disease. This doesnt mean that they cant spread the disease, however.

Anyone who has the herpes virus, whether symptomatic or not, can spread the virus to others.

If you have the herpes virus and your body has produced antibodies, it can be detected on a blood test, even if you have no symptoms. The only time the virus might not be detected on a test is if youve been tested too early.

How To Test For Herpes

Understanding Genital Herpes

If you suspect you have herpes, the first thing you should do is contact your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider can examine your blisters or sores to check for herpes. If you do have an HSV infection, your healthcare provider may recommend a treatment plan for you.

The Center for Disease Control recommends a genital herpes test if you have symptoms of herpes or a sexual partner who has genital herpes . Note that some people have asymptomatic herpes and donât show symptoms, but the CDC does not recommend asymptomatic screening for herpes .

If you would like an easy at-home option to test for 6 other common STIs, try the Everlywell home STD Test for women or the STD Test for men which checks for chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, HIV, syphilis, and trichomoniasis. Once your sample is received and analyzed at the lab, the test results are sent to you quickly and discreetly via our secure, online platform.

Recommended Reading: How Do You Catch Herpes Virus

How Herpes Is Diagnosed

Your first step is to make an appointment with your healthcare provider if you have a lesion on your genitals or believe you were exposed to herpes. “Google really can’t tell you if you have genital herpes or not,” said Dr. Shim. A diagnosis of herpes can be made with an exam, but your healthcare provider will also order a culture swab from the sore to confirm the virus.

Your healthcare provider can give you advice on easing symptoms, shortening their duration, and preventing outbreaks in the future. Taking a daily dose of the antiviral drug Valtrex can decrease transmission to a non-infected partner, said Dr. Shirazian. It can also prevent recurrent outbreaks for the person with the infection. Maintaining general healthful habitseating nutritious foods, staying active, and getting enough sleepgo a long way to keeping your immune system able to minimize outbreaks.

What Does The Test Result Mean

Direct detection of the virus

  • A positive HSV DNA test or culture indicates that you have an active herpes infection, and the result may indicate if it is HSV-1 or HSV-2.
  • A negative PCR test or culture indicates that the herpes simplex virus was not detected, but this does not definitely rule out an infection. False negatives can occur if there is not enough active virus in the sample. This may happen if the lesion is cultured more than 48 hours after the symptoms appear. If suspicion of herpes remains high, repeat testing may be done.

Antibody blood tests

  • A positive HSV-1 or HSV-2 IgG antibody test means antibodies are present in your blood, which means you have had an infection in the past even if you havent noticed any symptoms. The type of antibody detected indicates the type of HSV infection.
  • Negative HSV antibody results mean that it is unlikely that you have been exposed to HSV or it may mean that your body has not had time to begin producing HSV antibodies.

Read Also: Can Herpes Cause Stomach Pain

Also Check: Can You Pass Herpes Without An Outbreak

Treatment Of Genital Herpes

Genital herpes will clear by itself however, seeking treatment early can significantly reduce the time the outbreak lasts and can help the healing process. It also reduces the risk of you passing it on to someone else.

You will be given antivirals which work by preventing the virus from multiplying but it does not clear the virus from your body completely.

Treatment is usually started within five days of the start of the first outbreak. Treatment involves taking antiviral tablets daily for five days. There are various types of antivirals that may be prescribed, common ones include aciclovir, famciclovir and valaciclovir.


Antibiotics will not work because genital herpes is a virus not a bacteria. The treatment you buy for oral cold sores will not work either.

Some people find that another course of antivirals helps with further outbreaks. For people who have multiple outbreaks , they may be given longer courses of medication. This is known as suppressive treatment. This means taking antiviral medication for a longer time period.

I Have Herpes You Could Too

Im scared this maybe

If you get cold sores, you have herpes. If you get cold sores, you have herpes. If you get cold sores, you have herpes.

There, I said it.

When I got my test results, I cried for an hour. And then I cried some more. Not because I was scared for my health, but because I was afraid of what people would think. Part of me thought no one would ever want to be with me that I was suddenly unloveable. This horrible thing had happened to me without me knowing, and it was never going away.

My mom was the first person I told.

Do you see me differently now that I have herpes? I asked, trying not to cry.

I think youre still the same daughter I had, just more grown-up now, she assured me.

After a pause, she chuckled. Just remember to use condoms.

I always do.

Which barring two ex-partners who had gotten tested and a couple of accidents is true. I have always taken my sexual health seriously. I get tested every six months and expect the same from my partners.

But herpes is so common they dont even test for it on a regular STI panel. I probably wouldnt have ever found out I had it if my partner at the time hadnt had his first outbreak. When he called me to tell me he had herpes, I didnt know what to do. After countless Google searches and conversations with my closest friends, I decided to get tested. Multiple doctors repeatedly told me that getting tested while not showing any symptoms was rare and discouraged. But I wanted to know.

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Which Herpes Test Should You Get

Each method of testing for herpes has advantages and disadvantages, from time and cost, to an increased possibility of false results. Often, people concerned about the virus use a range of herpes testing to get a more accurate, proven picture of whether or not theyre infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2.

Since herpes is a lifelong infection that cant be cured, its important to discuss testing options with your healthcare provider and make sure you receive an accurate result. Your healthcare provider will be able to tell you more about the best options for herpes testing based on your symptoms and situation.

Typically, your healthcare provider will carry out a physical exam before choosing the best testing method for you. As herpes symptoms tend to be worst during the initial outbreak of the virus, its best to talk to your healthcare provider as soon as you start experiencing symptoms.

In the event that you do have herpes, theres no need to panic. Both oral and genital herpes are extremely common, and a variety of effective treatments are available for both.

Our Valacyclovir 101 guide goes into more detail about one of the most common, effective drugs for treating both symptomatic and asymptomatic herpes. You can also learn more about the risk of catching herpes in our guide to how herpes is transmitted between people.

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Also Check: How Many People Have Genital Herpes

When To Talk With A Doctor

Talk with a doctor if you notice any sores on or around your genitals. Other STIs, like syphilis, can look like herpes but need different treatment. Treatment is needed to prevent complications and transmission.

Your doctor will let you know whether you should test for herpes or another STI, and they can help you get treatment if needed.

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What Is Std Screening Exactly

Getting a screening test means that we look for an infection when you may not have any symptoms. Just like you get a mammogram, or screen for colon cancer, its also important to screen for sexually transmitted infections . There are no exact recommended times or tests that we recommend for everyone. These testing recommendations depend on your lifestyle and risk level.

Read Also: Is Herpes Transmitted Through Blood

When Should You Get Tested

A Vaccine Pathway for Herpes Virus with Gregory Smith, PhD

The best time to get tested for herpes varies, depending on what’s happening.

If you’re exhibiting symptoms of an initial outbreak which include pain, itching and redness of the affected location fatigue, fever and chills and, ultimately, painful sores or ulcers it’s best to see a healthcare professional about getting tested.

However, if you think you’ve been exposed to the virus and aren’t yet exhibiting symptoms, HSV may take some time before being able to show results on a test. While the exact time frame is unknown and varies from person to person, two weeks is usually enough time to yield accurate test results.

Most people become concerned about being infected with the herpes virus after contact with a potentially infected person. Often, simple things like kissing someone with a visible cold sore or facial acne around the lips can cause concern about HSV-1.

For genital herpes, most people become concerned about potentially being infected after sexual contact with a person that shows symptoms of herpes. This can include oral sex with someone that has cold sores, which can potentially spread to the genitals.

Since herpes is asymptomatic in many people, you could be infected with the virus even if you dont have any symptoms.

Also Check: How To Meet Other People With Herpes

What To Do With Your Herpes Test Results

At-home health testing companies like LetsGetChecked may give you access to health professionals. They can discuss your test results and explain what they mean.

However, its important that you seek medical advice if you:

  • Test positive for herpes
  • Think you have a false positive
  • Have other sexual health concerns

Your doctor can guide you on the next steps and provide the medications you need to recover.

If your test returns negative, its a reminder to practice safe sex. This reduces your exposure to sexually transmitted diseases .

How Soon Do Std Symptoms Appear

How long it takes for an STD to show up in testing is entirely dependent on the STD itself, how long its own incubation period is, and your own bodys immune response. You can test for some STDs, like chlamydia, only a day after potential exposure. Meanwhile, HIV and syphilis can take a month or more before you can accurately test for them. Its all pretty confusing but lucky for you, we created a nifty little chart that breaks down each STDs average incubation period.

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Also Check: How To Treat Genital Herpes Sores At Home

Book Your Instant Herpes Test

Better2Knows experienced sexual health advisors are available 24/7 to answer any questions regarding STIs or Better2Knows private STI testing services in the UK. You can also arrange your confidential booking at any time using the orange button at the top of the page. We will email or text you confirmation of your appointment with where to go and details of what you will get tested for.

You will also receive your patient login details. Our patient area provides exclusive access to Better2Knows STI factsheets and the anonymous partner notification service we offer, if you test positive. You can also view your appointment details, as well as a map and directions to Better2Knows sexual health clinic.

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