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.
Take Charge Of Your Health
Oral herpes can be transmitted by kissing, sharing eating utensils or drinks, or during sex. Since oral herpes can be contracted from both Type 1 and Type 2 strains of the Herpes Simplex Virus, our doctors recommend getting tested for both of these HSV strains at the same time.
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How Do I Get Genital Herpes
Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be transferred from person to person through sexual and some non-sexual contact. Its more likely for individuals to spread or contract herpes during an outbreak when blisters are present, but herpes can still spread even when symptoms arent present. Generally, a person can only get HSV-2 infection during sexual contact with someone who has a genital HSV-2 infection. Transmission can occur from an infected partner who does not have a visible sore and may not know that he or she is infected.
HSV-1 can cause genital herpes, but it more commonly causes infections of the mouth and lips, so-called fever blisters. You can, for instance, get herpes from kissing someone. HSV-1 infection of the genitals can be caused by oral-genital or genital-genital contact with a person who has HSV-1 infection. Genital HSV-1 outbreaks recur less regularly than genital HSV-2 outbreaks.
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Management Of Sex Partners
The sex partners of persons who have symptomatic genital herpes can benefit from evaluation and counseling. Symptomatic sex partners should be evaluated and treated in the same manner as patients who have symptomatic genital herpes. Asymptomatic sex partners of patients who have symptomatic genital herpes should be asked about a history of genital symptoms and offered type-specific serologic testing for HSV-2. For partners without genital herpes, no data are available on which to base a recommendation for PEP or PrEP with antiviral medications or that they would prevent acquisition, and this should not be offered to patients as a prevention strategy.
Suppressive Therapy For Recurrent Hsv
Suppressive therapy reduces frequency of genital herpes recurrences by 70%80% among patients who have frequent recurrences . Persons receiving such therapy often report having experienced no symptomatic outbreaks. Suppressive therapy also is effective for patients with less frequent recurrences. Long-term safety and efficacy have been documented among patients receiving daily acyclovir, valacyclovir, and famciclovir . Quality of life is improved for many patients with frequent recurrences who receive suppressive therapy rather than episodic treatment . Providers should discuss with patients on an annual basis whether they want to continue suppressive therapy because frequency of genital HSV-2 recurrence diminishes over time for many persons. However, neither treatment discontinuation nor laboratory monitoring is necessary because adverse events and development of HSV antiviral resistance related to long-term antiviral use are uncommon.
Valacyclovir 500 mg orally 2 times/day for 3 daysOR
Valacyclovir 1 gm orally once daily for 5 days
*Acyclovir 400 mg orally 3 times/day is also effective, but are not recommended because of frequency of dosing.
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Will I Need To Do Anything To Prepare For The Test
You don’t need any special preparations for a blood test. If you’re a woman, you may need to avoid douches and vaginal creams for 24 hours before a urine or swab test.
You may need to empty your bladder before a lumbar puncture.
Your provider will let you know if you need to make any other preparations.
Are Home Std Test Kits Accurate
Generally, at-home STD testing is done with about 99% accuracy if all instructions are followed correctly, including ensuring youve paid attention to exposure windows. Every STD has a unique window of time before which the disease can be detected in your body, and before you provide your sample, you should be sure to understand the exposure time frame for the STDs youre hoping to get tested for. Any test, including those done in doctors offices, can return a false negative if testing is done too soon after exposure.
*Estimated from ratio of prevalence of STDs in youth to number of sexually active youth 15-24 . 2001, Table B, p. 8). The prevalence estimate assumes STDs are in different people.
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Can I Buy Over The Counter Herpes Test Kits
Herpes test kits can be bought over the counter in the UK, from both online and high street pharmacies. You can order a herpes test kit online from Chemist Click, which well send to you via our express, next day delivery service in discreet packaging.
We also provide a range of other STI test kits through our online pharmacy, such as:
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Staying Safe While Avoiding Panic And Stigma
It can be tempting to freak out a little bit when you realize that herpes is both super-common and something you arent routinely getting tested for. So how do you process that information?
The first step is practicing the same safe sex that you know helps protect you from other STIs. Your best bet here is a barrier method like internal and external condoms for any penetration and physical shields such as dental dams for any oral play. Even though this wont fully protect you from herpes , it will reduce how much of your skin touches your partners.
This is why screening for herpes infection in the absence of any symptoms wouldnt really do much to cut back on casesthe advice would be the same: Practice safe sex with barrier methods. I agree right now with the recommendations not to screen people, but I think if we had a better diagnostic strategy, I would be much more in favor of routine screenings, Dr. Johnston says. It is important for people to know their status so they can protect themselves and their partners.
If you think you have herpes, see a doctor such as your ob/gyn or dermatologist , or go to your local health clinic. A medical expert can evaluate your symptoms, take samples for testing, and eventually offer treatment options if you need them.
You will likely be started on antiviral medications to help you heal faster and make you less contagious, Dr. Bard says.
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Which Sti Tests Should I Get
Here is a list of the different types of STI screenings available. Theres more information on our SHOP page about when to test! Herpes: no self-ordered herpes tests. Students are not able to order their own herpes blood test for herpes, due to the chance of a false positive. This means the test can indicate that a person has been exposed to herpes but the test can be wrong. For these reasons we do not recommend routine herpes blood tests.
Online Herpes Treatment Providers
There arent many online providers that offer at-home testing for herpes, but many companies offer at-home treatment. If youve used one of the tests we recommend and test positive, you should always check in with your primary medical provider for next steps. If you dont have one, or are in a situation that means you cant report it, check out some of the best online herpes treatment providers.
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Can Certain Stds Lie Dormant And Not Be Detected
In some cases, an STD may be asymptomatic because its latent, or lying dormant in your body. Latent STDs can cause someone to remain undiagnosed until symptoms begin to appear. This may put them at risk for long-term complications.
Chlamydia, hepatitis C, HIV, HSV , and syphilis can all have periods of latency.
The best way to ensure that dormant STDs receive the proper diagnosis and treatment is regular STD screening. The CDC recommends that all sexually active adults with new or multiple sexual partners receive at least yearly testing for most STDs, especially chlamydia and gonorrhea.
Its also recommended that people who have sex without a condom or other barrier method receive STD testing more frequently.
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How Does Genital Herpes Affect A Pregnant Woman And Her Baby
Neonatal herpes is one of the most serious complications of genital herpes.5,16 Healthcare providers should ask all pregnant women if they have a history of genital herpes.11 Herpes infection can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy or childbirth, or babies may be infected shortly after birth, resulting in a potentially fatal neonatal herpes infection. 17 Infants born to women who acquire genital herpes close to the time of delivery and are shedding virus at delivery are at a much higher risk for developing neonatal herpes, compared with women who have recurrent genital herpes . 16,18-20 Thus, it is important that women avoid contracting herpes during pregnancy. Women should be counseled to abstain from intercourse during the third trimester with partners known to have or suspected of having genital herpes. 5,11
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Are Test Results Accurate
Tests that identify evidence of HSV infections are routine and commonly used medical tests. The ability of a test to accurately diagnose or rule out HSV infection depends on the test used for analysis and the stage of a patients infection.
The Tzanck smear and viral culture are less able to accurately identify patients who have an HSV infection than other tests. PCR testing and antibody testing are more sensitive, which means that they miss fewer cases of infection.
Blood tests that detect antibodies to HSV can distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2 but not the site of infection. This means that blood tests cannot tell whether a patient has a genital or oral herpes infection.
Although these tests are valuable for identifying HSV infection, no test is perfect. When learning of test results, patients should talk to their doctor about the type of test conducted, the reliability of test results, and if additional tests are necessary to confirm or rule out a diagnosis.
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Which Std Tests Check For Herpes
If you want to get tested for herpes, you can either order type-specific herpes tests designed to identify the presence of HSV-1 or HSV-2 in your body or you can opt for a testing panel.
The golden rule of thumb goes if you suspect recent exposure to one STD, it is definitely a good idea to test for all the others as well. In other words, if you suspect you might have herpes, you should definitely test for other STDs too. This is where comprehensive testing panels come into play. Reputable STD testing providers offer full screening panels that cover the most common STDs in the US, which naturally includes herpes.
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How Long Does An At
The testing process itself should take less than five minutes. The longest part is waiting for your results to come back! For the most part, it takes two or three business days to receive your package from the time youve ordered it, fifteen minutes max to take the test, and then two to five business days after youve shipped the package back to receive your results.
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There Are Two Common Blood Tests Used To Identify Herpes And Theyre Often Misleading
I had a patient once who underwent this test, which was positive, and was told she has herpes, which to her was devastating and life-altering, Friedman says. She burst into tears when I explained the significance or lack thereof with this test, which is very misleading. There are two common blood tests used to identify herpes: IgG and IgM. The IgM test is still used by some doctors even though it has been denounced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . According to the American Sexual Health Association , IgM tests can lead to deceptive results, as well as false assumptions about how and when a person acquired HSV.
And thats not all: IgM tests fail to accurately distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2 antibodies, leading them to provide false-positive results for HSV-2. In other words, if youve been exposed to oral herpes , results of the IgM test could lead you to believe youre positive for genital herpes, when in fact you simply have antibodies against HSV-1.
IgG tests, on the other hand, are more accurate, but arent without their own issues. For instance, ASHA says that while an IgG test can distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2, the problem is that the time it takes for IgG antibodies to reach a detectable level varies from person to person. This means that even with accurate results, someone could get a false-negative if they have the test administered too soon after contracting the virus .
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When Should You Consider Getting Tested
Herpes is a sneaky, deceitful virus. It hides deep inside your nerve cells for unpredictable periods of time before triggering visible symptoms. In many cases, it infects the body and spreads to others without any obvious signs at all. As many as 90 percent of people infected with herpes are unaware they have the virus because theyve never experienced an outbreak.
People who dont have symptoms are more likely to transmit the herpes virus through a phenomenon known as asymptomatic shedding. This occurs when the virus sheds from the skin and spreads to others, even when no sores are present. Asymptomatic shedding is undetectable as there are no signs or symptoms, but its real.
According to research, at least 70% of infected people experience asymptomatic shedding of HSV-1 at least once a month. Many may even shed the herpes virus without symptoms more than six times per month.
Given that the herpes virus doesnt always trigger outbreaks and symptoms, testing is an important way to monitor your health. The CDC recommends testing if you are experiencing symptoms that could be related to herpes or if you recently had sex with a new partner who has genital herpes.
Remember, its possible that early herpes symptoms may not seem related to herpes. An initial herpes outbreak causes flu-like symptoms, including fatigue, fever and chills. These symptoms may be paired with pain, itching and redness around the affected area.
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What Is Included In Standard Std Testing
Sexually active people with multiple partners are often told to use protection when they have sex and to get regular STD testing, or sexually transmitted disease testing. Practicing safe sex and getting checked for STDs is essential because you can have a disease without knowing it. This puts your partners at risk of getting the disease and spreading it with others.
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A Quick Look At The 6 Best At
- Best herpestest subscription:LetsGetChecked
- Best STI panel test for herpes:Everlywell
- Best convenient herpestest:MyLAB Box
- Best affordable herpes test:HealthLabs
- Best test for early herpes detection:Priority STD
- Best herpes test for quick results: STDcheck
MNT chooses at-home tests that meet the following criteria where possible:
- Laboratories: Where possible, MNT will choose companies that process test samples in labs. This means they follow state and federal regulations.
- Budget: MNT chooses at-home tests that suit a wide range of budgets.
- Privacy: MNT includes companies that offer robust and transparent privacy measures, such as data protection and discreet packaging.
- Test result speed: MNT selects companies that inform customers when they will receive their test results and whether they will receive them via email, app, or phone.
- Further support: MNT will indicate whether a company offers further support, such as a follow-up phone consultation with a doctor to discuss test results.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
How Do People Get Genital Herpes
Infections are transmitted through contact with HSV in herpes lesions, mucosal surfaces, genital secretions, or oral secretions. 5 HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be shed from normal-appearing oral or genital mucosa or skin. 7,8 Generally, a person can only get HSV-2 infection during genital contact with someone who has a genital HSV-2 infection. However, receiving oral sex from a person with an oral HSV-1 infection can result in getting a genital HSV-1 infection. 4 Transmission commonly occurs from contact with an infected partner who does not have visible lesions and who may not know that he or she is infected. 7 In persons with asymptomatic HSV-2 infections, genital HSV shedding occurs on 10.2% of days, compared to 20.1% of days among those with symptomatic infections. 8
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Nonetheless Asymptomatic Individuals Can Still Pass Herpes On And You Could Be One Of Them Even If You Obtain Regular Std Testing
Many doctors also don’t inform patients that the test is not included, so when people do have symptoms and receive a diagnosis, there can be feelings of confusion and worry about whether a partner was dishonest or cheated, when their partner simply may not have known about the infection. In fact, by the time some people are diagnosed, it can be very difficult to determine how long they’ve had the infection. This means they may not have contracted it from their current partner.