Best For Difficult Sexual Relationships: Stdcheckcom
Why We Chose It: STDcheck.com is very easy to use and offers several options for at-home herpes testing. However, whats notable about the site is that it lets you send online anonymous text alerts to sexual partners who might need to be tested. Thats not as good as talking with them in person, but it can help with some awkward conversations you might not otherwise be willing to have.
For $139, individuals get access to both HSV-1 and HSV-2 testing. A 10-test panel with other STDs costs $249
Ability to alert sexual partners by anonymous text
Results within 1-2 days
Tests are run at the same labs used by a doctors office
The least expensive option does not detect genital herpes cases caused by HSV-1
Doctor consultations are only available for people who test positive
Insurance is not an option for payment
STDcheck.com allows people to order STD tests online and then go to a local lab for testing . Over 4,500 testing locations are available nationwide, and most people will be able to find a site that is convenient for them. After the test is ordered, you go to the lab and have your blood drawn. The lab sends it for analysis and, in a few days, you can access your results by phone or online.
Recommended herpes testing options run from $139 to $249, and telephone doctor consultations are free for individuals who have a positive test.
Are There Any Risks To The Test
There is no known risk to having a swab test.
There is very little risk to having a blood test. You may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.
If you had a lumbar puncture, you may have pain or tenderness in your back where the needle was inserted. You may also get a headache after the procedure.
Tingling Or Pain Before Blisters Form
If you know you’ve been exposed to herpes, you may want to watch for “prodromal” symptoms. “About 50% of people will have symptoms such as itching, tingling, or pain on genital skin before blisters or sores appear,” said Dr. Shim. Usually, you’ll experience an outbreak later, but it’s possible to have this tingling or itching and have no sores emerge.
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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
Why Genital Herpes Comes Back
Genital herpes is caused by a virus called herpes simplex. Once you have the virus, it stays in your body.
It will not spread in your body to cause blisters elsewhere. It stays in a nearby nerve and causes blisters in the same area.
If you can, avoid things that trigger your symptoms.
Triggers can include:
- surgery on your genital area
- a weakened immune system for example, from having chemotherapy for cancer
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How To Avoid Herpes Infection
Condoms cut the risk of getting or passing on herpes if they cover the affected area.
Other types of contraception, such as the contraceptive pill, offer no protection against sexually transmitted infections .
Wash your hands after touching blisters, especially before handling contact lenses because herpes can cause an eye infection.
Avoid things that trigger herpes outbreaks such as a lack of sleep, sunbathing or stress.
Having herpes could make it easier for someone to get or pass on HIV. But if HIV drugs have made your viral load undetectable then you cannot pass on HIV.
Genital Herpes Is Common Shouldnt Cdc Recommend Testing For Everyone
CDC recommends herpes testing for people who have genital symptoms to confirm if they have it. Testing allows a healthcare provider to talk with patients about what to expect in the future. This includes talking about medications that help with symptoms. Providers can also tell patients how to lower the risk of transmitting herpes to sex partner.
CDC does not recommend herpes testing for people without symptoms in most situations. This is because of the limits of a herpes blood test and the possibility of a wrong test result. The chances of wrong test results are higher for people who are at low risk of infection.
Blood tests might be useful if:
- You have genital symptoms that could be related to herpes, or
- You have a sex partner with genital herpes, or
- Your provider found signs of herpes, but you still need a test to confirm it.
If you are sexually active, talk openly and honestly with your healthcare provider about what tests are right for you. These tips can help.
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What Should I Do If I Test Positive For Herpes
If you test positive for herpes, our doctors can provide you with expert advice on your next steps, including your treatment options and how to protect yourself and your partners. Herpes has no cure. However, the symptoms can be managed using medication. Some treatments can help to reduce the length of outbreaks and how often they happen.
Medically reviewed by Michele Emery, DNP
Are you worried you might have been exposed to the herpes virus?
First: dont panic. The HSV viruses are a lot more common than you may think, and are very manageable in most cases.
Second: if you think youve been exposed to the herpes virus, testing is going to be your first plan of action.
Take a couple deep breaths and when youre ready, read on.
What Tests Are Available For Genital Herpes
Common methods for testing genital herpes include swabs, blood testing, and visual examination by a healthcare provider.
The most common testing method in Canada is swabbing the lesionâs surface and sending it to a lab for testing. This cell culture test can determine whether HSV-1 or HSV-2 caused the genital herpes infection.
Swab testing is most likely to detect HSV when completed within 72 hours of symptoms first appearing.
Getting regular STI tests is a critical way to prevent infection or reinfection of sexual partners. â
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Are There Other Types Of Herpes Viruses Besides Hsv
Yes. There are over 25 viruses in the herpes family and at least 8 types that infect humans. These include herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 discussed in this article as well as varicella zoster virus , associated with chickenpox and shingles, Epstein Barr virus , which can cause infectious mononucleosis, cytomegalovirus , human herpes virus 6 and human herpes virus 7 , both associated with roseola in young children, and human herpes virus 8 , which has been found in tumors in people with Kaposi’s sarcoma . KS primarily affects people with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS and organ transplant recipients.
When Should I Get A Genital Or Oral Herpes Test
Testing for the viruses that cause genital and oral herpes may be ordered when a patient develops signs and symptoms of a herpes infection. Although many people who contract HSV never notice symptoms, signs of an initial infection appear 2 to 20 days after infection and depend on the type of HSV causing the infection.
When signs and symptoms of an initial infection occur, they may include:
- Small sores on the skin
- Tingling, itching, or burning on the skin
- Fever, headache, or body aches
- Swollen lymph nodes
After the initial infection, HSV remains dormant inside of the body. HSV can reactivate throughout a patients life, causing symptoms of genital or oral herpes to reappear. While the trigger for an HSV outbreak is often unknown, potential triggers include a fever, stress, physical trauma, and a suppressed immune system.
Generally, expert organizations do not recommend herpes testing for patients without symptoms. An exception may be made for certain patients, including:
- Patients who have a partner with genital herpes
- Patients seeking a more complete STD test panel, including people with multiple sexual partners
- Babies born to a mother who has HSV
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Useful Methods Include Testing An Actual Lesion
Keep in mind that there’s no such thing as “safe” sex, only safer sex, which means using protection and being open and honest with your partner. “It can definitely happen,” Friedman says of the chances of transmitting the virus to a partner without a visible outbreak. “Its called asymptotic shedding there are studies showing that the rates of transmission of HSV-2 are the same for symptomatic and asymptomatic.” He adds that this is why using protection during sexual contact is so important, regardless of what blood tests say. Unfortunately, you can never ensure your risk of transmission will be zero, whether or not you know you have herpes, but using a condom or dental dam will get you closer to it.
You Got A Positive Herpes Test Now What
If you receive a positive herpes test, start by educating yourself about the herpes virus. There are many pervasive herpes myths that you shouldnt believe. The truth is that herpes is treatable and outbreaks can even be minimized or prevented with the right treatment measures.
Acyclovir, for example, is an antiviral medication that treats infections caused by the herpes simplex virus, including genital herpes. Its best to start taking acyclovir as soon as you notice the first signs of an emerging outbreak. This medication stops the herpes virus from growing and spreading during an outbreak, although it cannot remove the virus from your body completely. Most people experience relief within just a few days of taking acyclovir.
If youre looking for a natural therapy to control herpes outbreaks, the Luminance RED is another option. The Luminance RED handheld devices shine red wavelengths of light over the skin of affected areas. The company has one device designed for oral herpes and one for genital herpes.
Medically-optimized red light is metabolized to accelerate the bodys healing process and strengthen its defenses against future attacks. Studies show that regular use of high-powered light treatment not only shortens the healing time of active outbreaks but can also prevent future outbreaks altogether.
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The Health Risks Of Genital Herpes
Pain and discomfort are the main health effects of genital herpes, but the virus can also cause emotional and social problems for those infected. Although it cannot be cured, genital herpes can be managed with antiviral medication that may help control the recurrences. On rare occasions, genital herpes may cause serious complications such as blindness and inflammation of the brain.
Genital herpes can sometimes be passed from an infected mother to her child during pregnancy or birth. The infection can be life-threatening to the child or result in skin lesions or brain damage. Antiviral medication and a cesarean delivery can reduce the risk of infecting the child.
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Best Convenient Herpes Test: Mylab Box
People can order at-home herpes tests from MyLAB Box. These kits contain instructions, a specimen bag, and a prepaid return envelope. Users may find this test convenient because of its quick turnaround for results and the option to book a free consultation and get treatment.
|doctor may prescribe treatment if test results are positive|
|Con||only tests for HSV-2|
Once a person receives their collection kit, they can collect their sample using the instructions. They can then use the prepaid envelope to send it to the laboratory.
People should receive their results within 25 days. If the test is positive, they can book a free consultation with a doctor to discuss their results and treatment options. The doctor may then prescribe treatment.
This at-home test only works for people who wish to test for genital herpes. The company does not offer test kits for oral herpes.
The kit costs $89 as a stand-alone test, but the company also markets other kits that test for different infections. For example, if a person also wishes to test for other STIs, they can purchase the Total Box 14 Panel option or the Uber Box 8 Panel option.
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How We Chose The Best At
When researching at-home herpes tests, we considered online reviews, privacy protocols, result times, result accuracy, and budget.
We prioritized affordable pricing and accessibility to digital results. Additionally, we kept an eye on user ratings and reviews to ensure that most people received accurate results and were happy with their experience.
How Can I Protect Sexual Partners Against Herpes Infection
If you have genital herpes, there are several steps you can take to avoid passing the herpes virus to your sexual partners:
Tell your partner you have genital herpes. Even if your partner does not have any visible herpetic sores, they may already be infected. The blood test for herpes can detect the infection even when no blisters are present. It is only fair to tell future partners about a diagnosis of genital herpes before initiating sexual contact. Taking antiviral medications can suppress viral loads and decrease the risk of infecting your partner. Taking antiviral medications by sex partners is another option to decrease the chances of sexual partners getting herpes infection.
Remember, you can transmit HSV infection to a sexual partner even when you are not having an outbreak, and there are no visible or symptomatic sores. The skin looks normal right before an outbreak, but contact during this time can spread the infection. The use of male latex condoms can reduce the chances of genital herpes transmission. However, condoms do not provide complete protection. The virus can still spread through areas not covered by the condom or through contact with semen or vaginal secretions.
Avoid touching the sores. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water following any contact with sores. This prevents transmission of the genital herpes infection to others as well as the re-infection of the infected person.
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How Do You Get Herpes
The skin on your genitals, mouth, and eyes can be infected easily. Other areas of skin may get infected if theres a way for the herpes virus to get in, like through a cut, burn, rash, or other sores. You dont have to have sex to get herpes. Sometimes herpes can be passed in non-sexual ways, like if a parent with a cold sore gives you a peck on the lips. Most people with oral herpes got it when they were kids. A mother can pass genital herpes to a baby during vaginal childbirth, but thats pretty rare.
You can spread herpes to other parts of your body if you touch a herpes sore and then touch your mouth, genitals, or eyes without washing your hands first. You can also pass herpes to someone else this way.
Herpes is most contagious when sores are open and wet, because fluid from herpes blisters easily spreads the virus. But herpes can also shed and get passed to others when there are no sores and your skin looks totally normal.
How To Choose The Right Herpes Test For You
Every herpes test has its own benefits and drawbacks. Its best to discuss your options with a medical professional to make the right choice for your healthcare needs.
It may be helpful to choose your herpes test based on your symptoms. Early in the disease, before a clear herpes outbreak appears, some test methodologies like a PCR test and an antibody blood test can yield false-negative results. On the other hand, a viral culture may yield false-negative results later in the disease.
If you want to receive test results that provide a comprehensive evaluation of your infection, consider using multiple herpes testing methods. If getting a rapid result is your priority, a PCR test is the fastest option.
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Myth: I Cant Have Kids If I Have Herpes
When my patients find out they have herpes, they often ask me, Oh my god, can I still have children?’ shares Dr. Rosser. The answer? Absolutely. Herpes doesnt affect your fertility in any way and there are plenty of safe delivery options to ensure the virus isnt transferred to your baby, she says. Still, genital herpes can increase the risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, or in rare cases, a potentially dangerous infection in newborns if the mother is experiencing symptoms at the time of birth.
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How We Test For Oral & Genital Herpes
Our herpes simplex virus type 1 and 2 type-specific antibody testing looks at the blood for antibodies to bothtypes of the herpes virus through the use of an immunoassay. If enough antibodies are detected, then the tester ispositive for the corresponding virus. Even without signs of an outbreak, our FDA-cleared herpes type 1 & 2 testingwill be 97%-99% accurate between 4-6 weeks post exposure. It will remain 99% accurate after 6 weeks.
Its important to understand that while HSV-2 is often referred to as genital herpes, and HSV-1 is commonly known asoral herpes, both can be located on either region of the body. A positive result for HSV-1 does not always mean aperson has oral herpes, nor does a positive result for HSV-2 mean someone has genital herpes.
Finding a lab is as simple as entering your zip code and selecting thelab that is most convenient for you. You pay online and can get tested as early as that same day.
Herpes I & II
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