Is There Anything Else I Should Know
Herpes can make people more susceptible to HIV infection. The skin lesions give other sexually transmitted diseases , including HIV, openings for entering the body. Likewise, it can make HIV-infected individuals more infectious. Infection with HSV can also increase HIV viral load. HSV-2 infection is a significant opportunistic infection in HIV-infected individuals due to immune system deficiencies up to 90% of HIV-infected individuals are co-infected with HSV-2.
What Happens At A Sexual Health Clinic
The doctor or nurse at the sexual health clinic will:
- ask about your symptoms and your sexual partners
- use a small cotton bud to take some fluid from 1 of your blisters or sores for testing
The test cannot:
- be done if you do not have visible blisters or sores
- tell you how long you have had herpes or who you got it from
Symptoms might not appear for weeks or even years after youâre infected with the herpes virus.
If you have genital herpes, your previous sexual partners should get tested.
The doctor or nurse at the clinic can discuss this with you and help you tell your partners without letting them know itâs you who has the virus.
The Accuracy Of Various Herpes Tests
This table summarizes the overall accuracy of different herpes tests. Please especially pay attention to the most common test, the IgG testâand most importantly to its false positive and false negative rates.
The table has three columns:
- Test accuracy: how accurate is the test in detecting the herpes virus
- False positive: the test detects the presence of herpes, but the person doesnât actually have it
- False negative: the test doesnât detect the presence of herpes, but the person does have it
Please note: the numbers in the table are averages and may vary from case to case based on factors such as when the test is performed , the testing technique, and the herpes viral load.
|100%||0%||Depends on the time of sample collection: usually 25% but may be up to 70%|
|Blood test||Commercially available IgG test: 94%Washington University test: > 99%||Commercially available IgG test: up to 19%Washington University test*: 0%||Commercially available IgG test: up to 38%Washington University test*: 0%|
* The Washington University test is considered the âgold standardâ blood test. The false-negative and false-positive rates for the commercially available IgG test are based on a comparison to the Western blot results of the Washington University test.
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Recognizing Symptoms Of Herpes Hsv
Once genital herpes has made a home for itself in your body, there are a few symptoms that may appear.
- Sores or cuts in or around the genitals
- Headaches, body aches, or swollen lymph nodes
- Tingling or shooting pains in the legs, hips, or buttocks
In addition, keep in mind that these are symptoms, especially in the genital area, are associated with genital herpes although other conditions can cause them as well.
How Much Does The Test Cost
The cost of testing for genital and oral herpes depends on the type of test that is performed, where the test is conducted, and whether the patient has medical insurance. Testing is often covered by insurance when ordered by a doctor, although patients may still be responsible for costs such as copays and deductibles.
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Treatment If The Blisters Come Back
Go to a GP or sexual health clinic if you have been diagnosed with genital herpes and need treatment for an outbreak.
Antiviral medicine may help shorten an outbreak by 1 or 2 days if you start taking it as soon as symptoms appear.
But outbreaks usually settle by themselves, so you may not need treatment.
Recurrent outbreaks are usually milder than the first episode of genital herpes.
Over time, outbreaks tend to happen less often and be less severe. Some people never have outbreaks.
Some people who have more than 6 outbreaks in a year may benefit from taking antiviral medicine for 6 to 12 months.
If you still have outbreaks of genital herpes during this time, you may be referred to a specialist.
Questions For Your Doctor About Test Results
The following questions may be useful as patients review genital and oral herpes test results with their doctor:
- What type of test was conducted?
- What is my test result?
- What is the most likely explanation for my test result?
- Are there any follow-up tests that you recommend?
- How should I discuss my test result with sexual partners?
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Im Pregnant What Do I Need To Know
To get the best care, tell your doctor you have genital herpes, because it could make you more likely to have a miscarriage or give birth too soon.
Its possible to pass along the virus to your baby. For infants, it can be life-threatening. Your doctor can talk to you about how to lower the chances that this will happen.
If you have an outbreak while youre pregnant, your doctor can give you medicine to treat your symptoms and stop them sooner.
Your doctor may give you a drug to prevent an outbreak as your due date gets closer. This is because your baby could get herpes by passing through your birth canal if youre having an outbreak when you go into labor. If thats a possibility, your doctor will most likely want to do a C-section, which is surgery to deliver the baby.
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What Affects The Test
Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
- If a culture sample is taken from a crusted, older sore.
- If a blood sample is taken before antibodies against HSV have formed. This period is called the window period or seroconversion period.
- If you are taking antiviral medicines, such as acyclovir, famciclovir, ganciclovir, or valacyclovir.
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What Are Herpes Antibodies
Antibodies are proteins the body makes to help fight infection and prevent future infections.
HSV-1 and HSV-2 antibodies are proteins that have formed due to the presence of the HSV-1 or HSV-2 virus. An immunoglobulin G blood test detects these proteins in the blood and can tell if a person has ever experienced an infection with either virus.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not recommend herpes testing for people without symptoms. There is no evidence that having a herpes diagnosis changes peoples sexual behavior and prevents herpes from spreading.
People who are pregnant may wish to have a herpes antibody test. A baby can contract herpes during vaginal childbirth. Herpes can be life threatening to newborn babies.
People may also wish to have a herpes antibody test if they:
- have had sexual contact with someone with herpes
- have a specific clinical reason for determining their HSV status
- have another reason for wanting to know their HSV status, such as having multiple sexual partners
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If Visible Here Are Some Of The More Common Signs Of An Hsv
Vaginal or Pelvic Infection:
- Swelling or discomfort in the groin nodes
- Headaches, body aches or flu-like symptoms
Remember, both oral and genital herpes can be spread even if sores are not present.Most cases of genital herpes are caused by HSV-2, but if you participate in oral sex, keep in mind that the oral variety of HSV can still cause genital herpes. So it pays to test regularly and be honest with your partners.
How Is An At Home Genital Herpes Test Performed
While there are a few different ways to test for herpes, the one thats usually used for home testing is a blood test. Sometimes known as a herpes rapid test, this is a blood test that looks for antibodies against the herpes virus. Antibodies are produced by your body in response to an infection. Having antibodies against the herpes virus means that youve been exposed to the virus.
You simply order a herpes rapid test kit online, and its sent to your home in discreet packaging that doesnt show whats inside. You take your blood sample yourself at home, using a fingerprick. After you send your sample back to the lab, herpes test online results will be available within a few days.
One benefit of doing the test at home is that it helps to maintain your privacy. Your results wont be reported to your insurance company, nor will they show up on a document called an explanation of benefits , which insurance companies routinely send after paying for something. Anyone who shares your insurance may be able to see the fact that you were tested on the EOB, even if they cant see your results. Testing at home helps to prevent this situation and keep your testing entirely private.
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How Does The Test Work
The genital herpes home test kit conveniently allows you to detect genital herpes without the need to visit your doctor or a sexual health clinic.
Ordering a test kit from Superdrug Online Doctor is easy just follow these simple steps:
- Your test kit will be delivered to an address of your choice
- Follow the instructions in the included leaflet to collect the sample
- Place the sample in the prepaid and addressed envelope and send it to our lab
- Your results will arrive within 2 to 3 days of the sample arriving at the lab
What Does Herpes Look Like
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Herpes sores can affect many areas of the body, including the mouth, genitals, and eyes. Knowing what herpes looks like across the body can help people diagnose the condition.
Herpes is a skin condition caused by the herpes simplex virus. The symptoms include sores that come and go over time. Different types of herpes affect different body parts.
This article will explain what herpes is, how people get it, and what herpes looks like with pictures.
Most people with HSV are asymptomatic, meaning they will not experience any symptoms. Others will notice sores or lesions. These sores look like blisters filled with fluid. Over a few days, the sores break open, ooze, and form a crust before healing.
People may also notice a tingling, itching, or burning feeling a few days before the sores appear. Some people may also experience flu-like symptoms, such as:
Someone who has contracted the virus will usually have their first sores, or an outbreak, between 2 and 20 days later. The sores may last up to a week or 10 days.
An outbreak may involve a single sore or a cluster of sores. They often affect the skin around the mouth, the genitals, or the rectum. The blisters can take between 2 and 4 weeks to heal.
The symptoms will usually reappear from time to time, though they do not tend to be as severe as the first time.
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Questions For Your Doctor After At
The following questions about the results of at-home genital and oral herpes testing may be helpful for patients to discuss with their doctor:
- Is my at-home herpes test result reliable?
- What is the most likely explanation for my test result?
- Are there any follow-up tests that you recommend?
- How should I discuss my test result with sexual partners?
What Should I Do If My Test Results Are Positive
Many at-home services have independent physicians or nurses reach out to people with positive test results. Theyll discuss your results with you and suggest a plan of action, possibly including medication.
If your results are positive, its important to let any recent sexual partners know so they can also get tested.
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How Do The Tests Work
HSV tests detect IgG and immunoglobulin M antibodies. IgG antibodies are present soon after infection with HSV and remain in the blood for life. A test result showing IGg antibodies will tell a person that they have experienced an infection in the past and that they have antibodies against the virus.
IgM antibodies appear before IgG antibodies but may disappear when the infection is inactive. Testing for IgM antibodies is not a useful way to distinguish between primary and recurrent episodes of HSV infection. Therefore, doctors do not recommend IgM testing.
A positive herpes antibody test cannot tell people where they have HSV infection or when they contracted the infection. It cannot tell if a person was capable of passing on the infection at the time of the test, nor can it tell if specific symptoms are due to herpes.
Once a sample comes back from laboratory analysis, a person will receive one of the following results:
Preparing For The Genital Herpes Test And Consultation
If you see your GP or visit a GUM clinic, they will ask a number of questions about your condition before providing a diagnosis. Your doctor will most likely ask you about your symptoms, recent sexual encounters, your STI history, whether you use condoms and whether you are taking any medication. You should use your consultation to ask any questions you may have with regards to your condition, your risk of STIs and how to avoid infecting future partners.
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Can Herpes Simplex Virus Cause Serious Infections
Yes. The most serious, or life-threatening, HSV infections can occur in newborns who are infected during birth and in individuals with weakened immune systems , such as organ transplant recipients and people with HIV/AIDS. Neonatal herpes is a serious condition, but also very rare. While 25-30% of pregnant women have genital herpes, less than 0.1% of babies born in the U.S. each year get neonatal herpes. This means that most women with genital herpes give birth to healthy babies.
HSV lesions tend to be more extensive and persist longer in newborns and immunocompromised people than in individuals who have healthy immune systems.
How Herpes Testing Works
For the most part, herpes presents very consistently across people and can be diagnosed on sight. However, its important to still get tested and make sure that its herpes and not something else so you can treat it correctly.
The CDC recommends only testing for herpes if you have symptoms or have been recently exposed. This is because studies have shown that testing for herpes when youre asymptomatic doesnt actually change sexual behavior: people are just as likely to engage in risky behavior like not using a condom whether or not they know they have herpes, if they dont have symptoms. If you test when you dont have symptoms and dont know if youve been exposed, itll also be harder to tell if your result is a false positive.
Most at-home herpes tests involve a combination of a finger prick blood test and either a vaginal swab or urine sample . Youll collect your sample and then mail it back to the testing company, which will run it through a partner lab. Both the blood test and swab/sample are similar in design to tests performed in-office by your doctor providing both blood and a genital sample helps to minimize the risk of getting a false result and ensuring you get results in case something happens to one of your samples.
If you go to your primary medical provider, theyll take a look at your symptoms and be able to tell you if its herpes or not. Should they not be able to tell or if youre asymptomatic despite exposure theyll order one of three tests:
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What Herpes Is And How You Get It
Herpes is a virus that causes sores on the skin or mucous membranes. The most common symptom of herpes is an outbreak of painful blisters on the skin or inside the mouth. This can occur anywhere from two days up to 20 days after being infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2 . If you have been diagnosed with genital herpes, it means that you have been infected with HSV-2 and if you have been diagnosed with oral herpes, then it means that you have been infected with HSV-1.
The reason why I mentioned both types of herpes simplex virus above is because they occur in two parts of our body: one part consists of our genitals or mouth while another part consists of our face or other areas such as arms, thighs and legs etc