How The Blood Test Results Help Herpes Infected Person
This is a diagnostic test that, if done accurately, must be aware of their condition. This helps prevent transmission of the disease unknowingly and take the medications that can help them reduce the symptoms. If you are tested herpes positive, know these things that may help you in handling the disease effectively,
A high population of people is getting affected by HSV every year, and they have a chance of transmitting to others as well if not cared for properly. The initial symptoms of this disease are very evident in most persons. Only in rare cases is it not shown with the expected intensities.
The recurring symptoms also happen to the person, with fewer effects for a short period, which can be reduced through proper medications. So, the people showing the signs of both oral and genital herpes should take the herpes blood test to confirm the disease.
There are few chances to get faulty test results, which is a drawback with this diagnosing process. But you will have to take the test if you have doubts about being exposed to this viral infection if you turn positive, inform your partner about this medical condition as they may also need to get tested.
If you have any symptoms or doubts regarding being exposed to the herpes virus, confirm it through the blood test with the guidance of a physician.
Where Can I Get Tested For Herpes
You can get tested for herpes and other STDs at your doctors office, a community health clinic, the health department, or your local Planned Parenthood health center.
STD testing isnt usually part of your regular checkup or gynecologist exam you have to ask for it. Be honest with your nurse or doctor so they can help you figure out which tests are best for you. Dont be embarrassed: Your doctor is here to help you, not to judge you.
How Can Herpes Be Tested/checked
Better2Know has three ways of testing for the Herpes virus:
- Blood Test if you have no symptoms
- Urine Test if you currently have symptoms
- Swab Test if you have a blister or other lesion for swabbing to see if it is caused by HSV.
At Better2Know, you can choose your test method: urine or a swab if you have symptoms, and blood if you do not. Results are available within 25 working days from us receiving your sample depending on which sample is taken. The test will tell you whether you have HSV-1, HSV-2, both types or neither.
At selected private sexual health clinics, Better2Know also provides instant Herpes testing. With this exclusive, popular Herpes testing option, you will receive your results from 10 minutes after sample collection.
You can also get a Home Sample Collection Kit by visiting our Home STI Tests page.
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Testing With No Symptoms
Blood tests can be used when a person has no visible symptoms but has concerns about having herpes. Blood tests do not actually detect the virus instead, they look for antibodies in the blood.
IgM vs. IgG
When an individual contracts herpes, the immune system responds by developing antibodies to fight the virus: IgG and IgM. Blood tests can look for and detect these antibodiesnot the virus itself. IgG appears soon after infection and stays in the blood for life. IgM is actually the first antibody that appears after infection, but it may disappear thereafter.
IgM tests are not recommended because of three serious problems:
The accurate herpes blood tests detect IgG antibodies. Unlike IgM, IgG antibodies can be accurately broken down to either HSV-1 or HSV-2. The challenge here is that the time it takes for IgG antibodies to reach detectable levels can vary from person to person. For one person, it could take just a few weeks, while it could take a few months for another. So even with the accurate tests, a person could receive a false negative if the test is taken too soon after contracting the virus.
For the most accurate test result, it is recommended to wait 12 16 weeks from the last possible date of exposure before getting an accurate, type-specific blood test in order to allow enough time for antibodies to reach detectable levels.
How Often Are Blood Tests For Herpes Wrong
Meanwhile, the CDC and the US Preventive Services Task Force concur that the most widely available herpes test, called HerpeSelect, should not be used to screen asymptomatic people because of its high risk of false positives: Up to 1 in 2 positive tests could be false, according to the USPSTFs most recent guidelines.
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When Is It Ordered
HSV PCR testing or herpes culture may be ordered when you have signs and symptoms of a herpes infection, such as a blister or blisters on or around your eye, mouth, genitals or rectum.
Herpes PCR testing may be ordered when you have signs and symptoms of encephalitis that a healthcare practitioner suspects may be caused by a virus. Examples of these signs and symptoms include:
Prenatal and newborn testing
- A pregnant woman who has been diagnosed with herpes may be monitored regularly prior to delivery to detect a reactivation of her infection.
- A baby born to a mother who has active lesions during delivery may be tested before symptoms appear to assess whether the baby was exposed to HSV during delivery.
- A mother and newborn may be tested for HSV soon after delivery when a baby shows signs of HSV infection, such as meningitis or skin lesions that could be caused by the herpes virus.
HSV antibody testing may be done when your healthcare practitioner wants to determine if you have been exposed to HSV in the past.
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Some research has shown that two-step testing might improve the specificity that is avoid false positive results for the blood test which would be a great thing because these diagnoses create great anxiety and concern for people, he said. In a commentary accompanying the USPSTF guidelines, Hook expressed disappointment that herpes testing had barely improved over the past decade.
There is no perfect test but there are ways to reduce the inaccuracies and reduce the number of equivocal results and those are actively used in other diseases, he said in an interview with STAT. But they havent been used very aggressively for the purpose of herpes.
In the absence of sure-fire test advances, education and a lessening stigma surrounding herpes might help, not only by reducing test-related confusion, but potentially by bringing discussion of the virus out into the mainstream, said Hook.
Theres no major herpes advocacy group, he said. People call attention to diseases that they suffer from, but people with herpes dont feel they can call attention to it. And that creates a lot of suffering.
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How Accurate Are The Herpes Tests
It can be incredibly stressful to wonder if you have herpes. Thats true whether youre concerned because of symptoms because you know youve just been exposed, or for any other reasons. One way to determine whether or not you have genital herpes or oral herpes infection is to get a herpes test.
Many people have questions about how accurate herpes tests are. The truth is that herpes blood tests work reasonably well, but no test is perfect.
As with all herpes viruses, once an individual is infected with the herpes simplex virus, or HSV, he or she is infected for life. The presence of antibodies against herpes simplex means an individual is currently infected with the virus.
The accuracy of a herpes blood test depends on two things: how many people in the tested population have herpes and which specific test was used.
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.
|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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Will I Have To Pay For The Test Out Of Pocket
Youll have to check with your insurance network to see whether at-home STI tests are covered.
Insurance does typically cover them, but sites like Everlywell recommend verifying the purchase with your insurance.
Additionally, some networks may reimburse you for your purchase.
However, most at-home testing sites arent currently partnered with any insurance companies, which means youll have to reach out yourself.
If you dont have insurance, youll likely have to pay for the test out of pocket. Some sites like Priority STD dont accept insurance, so its a flat rate of $99 regardless of your coverage.
Is A Blood Test For Genital Herpes Included When I Ask To Be Tested For Everything Why Does Cdc Recommend Testing For Other Stds But Not Herpes
Herpes blood tests may or may not be included. Your doctor chooses STD tests based on your sexual behaviors , as well as how common the infection is in the area that you live in. This is why you should have an open and honest discussion with your doctor about your sex practices and history. When you go in for STD testing, it is important to ask your doctor which infections you are and are not being tested for, and why.
STD tests are usually done for infections that have serious outcomes if they are not treated. For example, finding and treating curable STDs like chlamydia can stop them from causing serious complications like infertility in women. Genital herpes does not usually result in serious outcomes in healthy, non-pregnant adults. More often, the stigma and shame from a genital herpes infection can be more troubling to someone who is infected than the disease itself. If you are worried about genital herpes, you should talk with your doctor about whether you should be tested.
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When Symptoms Are Present
If active symptoms are present and the sores are not healed you should request a specific virus culture or assay for the herpes virus. A Viral culture looks for the presence of the virus in the lesion. This method is very specific and does not frequently give a positive result when something else is the culprit.
The viral culture often misses herpes even when it is present. Often a patient who has received a negative culture result will be asked to come back again when a new genital lesion appears so the culture can be tried a second or third time.
If you have been experiencing unusual symptoms or feel that you or your partner may have been exposed to an STD you should visit your Doctor as soon as possible for a herpes test.
Who Decides Which Diseases Are Notifiable And Why
The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists works with CDC to determine if a particular disease should be nationally notifiable. To make this decision, they follow a number of public health principles, for example, whether or not it is treatable whether or not it is preventable how common it is whether or not a public health response is needed whether or not there is a good source of information on the number of cases and whether or not it represents a significant public health threat . Information on HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections already exists in NHANES, so herpes infections have not been classified as notifiable diseases.
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Is There Another Type Of Over The Counter Herpes Test
Another way to test for herpes is to test the fluid from a blister when you have one. However, this type of test requires you to wait until you have a herpes outbreak before you test for herpes. This makes it unsuitable as a screening test.
In addition, because herpes causes a distinctive appearance, having herpes blisters is usually a good indication that you have herpes. Doctors often dont even test the blisters, because they can tell its herpes by the appearance. Because of this, a home test kit for herpes blisters would probably not be very useful.
For these reasons, this type of herpes test is not available over the counter. The only type of genital herpes home test kit thats generally available is the blood test for antibodies to the virus.
How Do You Test For Herpes
- If you have a visible blister or sore. The liquid from the sore can be taken using a swab sample. Its best to test the fluid that appears from a sore within 48 hours of its appearance.
- A blood test test can also be used to detect herpes simplex I or herpes simplex II. If you suspect that you have contracted herpes, its important to get tested as soon as possible.
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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.
What Happens During An Hsv Test
HSV testing is usually done as a swab test, blood test, or lumbar puncture. The type of test you get will depend on your symptoms and health history.
- For a swab test, a health care provider will use a swab to collect fluid and cells from a herpes sore.
- For a blood test, a health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.
- A lumbar puncture, also called a spinal tap, is only done if your provider thinks you may have an infection of the brain or spinal cord. During a spinal tap:
- You will lie on your side or sit on an exam table.
- A health care provider will clean your back and inject an anesthetic into your skin, so you wont feel pain during the procedure. Your provider may put a numbing cream on your back before this injection.
- Once the area on your back is completely numb, your provider will insert a thin, hollow needle between two vertebrae in your lower spine. Vertebrae are the small backbones that make up your spine.
- Your provider will withdraw a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid for testing. This will take about five minutes.
- Your provider may ask you to lie on your back for an hour or two after the procedure. This may prevent you from getting a headache afterward.
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Accuracy By Test Type
Two blood tests are used to screen for herpes. To ensure that an initial positive result is correct, a second test using a different method of detection is used to confirm the results.
The first test is the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay . An ELISA looks for immune proteins, called antibodies, that are produced by the immune system in response to the HSV. HSV antibodies are present even when there are no symptoms.
If the ELISA result is positive, your healthcare provider may administer a Western blot assay. This second test looks for proteins on the surface of the virus, called antigens, which serve as the virus’ “ID tag.” HSV antibodies produced in response to these antigens help the immune system target its attack.
According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the accuracy of the two blood used to diagnose herpes breaks down as follows:
|Over 99%||Over 99%|
Due to its high level of sensitivity and specificity, the Western blot is considered the gold standard of herpes blood testing.
With that said, the accuracy of the tests can be affected by the timing of the tests. For an ELISA to return an accurate result, the immune system needs to produce enough antibodies to reach detectable levels.
Testing too early during the so-called window period can end up causing a false-negative result .