What Can I Do About Genital Herpes
So heres the good news: herpes is rarely a serious health issue. Although there can be a negative stigma associated with those who have an outbreak and the blistering sores may change sexual habits, a majority of those infected have no symptoms at all.
If you do request a herpes blood test, ask if your doctor is going to be performing a type-specific test. These blood tests tend to be more reliable.
Should the blood test come back as positive, how your treatment plan develops will depend on other health conditions that may be affecting you. Suppressive therapies and other medication may be ordered, but in some patients, careful watching and waiting may be the best solution. If suppressive therapies are ordered, this will mean taking a drug every day that youll have to pay for.
Genital herpes can be detected with a herpes blood test. If no symptoms are being experienced, your doctor may wish to hold off on testing to avoid a false positive. And, if youre concerned about your sexual health for any reason, schedule an appointment with your doctor right away.
Is An At Home Herpes Test Accurate
01 Sep 2022
- Written by Dr. Patricia Sheltonon September 2, 2022
Herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease. Once youre exposed to this virus, it enters your nerve cells, where it can live for the rest of your life. Its possible for the virus to reactivate at any time. When its active, it may cause sores, and you may be able to pass the virus on to others. Even when you dont have sores, you may be able to pass on the virus.
In order to protect both themselves and their partners, many people are wondering how to check for herpes at home. How can you know whether youve been infected with this virus? Is there a rapid herpes test that you can get at home?
Recommended Reading: How Long Does Oral Herpes Last With Medication
Can You Get Herpes From Sharing Utensils
It is unlikely that you could contract herpes from shared cutlery, but there is no need to risk infection. It is good practice to wash your utensils well and forgo shared desserts until your partners outbreak is under control. The Centers for Disease Control maintains that you cannot get herpes from touching shared items such as towels or silverware.
Typically, the herpes virus manifests itself as genital herpes or cold sores, but it can spread to other areas of the body. HSV-1, otherwise known as oral herpes, is the form of herpes that presents as infectious cold sores. It is wise to keep in mind that herpes is still spreadable without the presence of visible sores.
Any contact with active oozing cold sores leads to a permanent herpes infection..
Read Also: How To Clean Genital Herpes
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.
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.
Get the latest from Hims
You May Like: Will Herpes Clear Up Without Treatment
Recommended Reading: Supplements To Avoid With Herpes
Hsv 1 Test Results Range And Interpretation
HSV-Herpes Simplex Virus 1 is one of the most common Sexually Transmitted Disease . HSV-1 is usually transmitted during childhood and it is commonly associated with viral infections of non-genital areas. Although HSV-1 causes oral herpes, its possible also to be present in genitals if the genitals are in contact with the exposed virus.
When Is The Hsv 2 Blood Test Most Useful
If someone wants to know if they have genital herpes because of their sexual history, then the HSV 2 blood test can provide conclusive information about whether or not they have been infected. This result can then help to reduce future transmissions to additional sexual partners. It is also useful to confirm a herpes diagnosis if someone is suffering from the symptoms of an active infection.
The symptoms of an HSV 2 infection can be so mild that they are undetectable. Many people who are infected with genital herpes do not know that they have it. If there are active symptoms, however, they will typically involve the presence of a small blister that will eventually break and ooze fluid. The blister than scabs over and becomes a painful sore that takes several weeks to heal.
There may also be flu-like symptoms experienced with the first outbreak of symptoms after the initial infection. This may include a fever, chronic and severe fatigue, nausea, and dizziness.
The issue with an HSV 2 infection is that the body is always shedding the active virus. People can transmit HSV 2 even if they arent experiencing active symptoms. The herpes virus can also make people 2x more susceptible to other STD infections, particularly HIV. This is because small, unnoticeable cracks in the skin can occur around the genital region to allow the virus to have access to the body. Herpes also attracts the cells that HIV likes to infect.
Dont Miss: How Long To Get Herpes Test Results
You May Like: How To Not Get Herpes From Your Partner
Polymerase Chain Reaction Test
As with the viral culture, your doctor swabs or scrapes a sample from one of your sores. A lab gets the sample and looks for genes from the herpes virus. PCR test results usually come back to you within 24 hours.
Youre more likely to get this test if you have symptoms but its been longer than 48 hours since they showed up. In this case, you can rely on the results from this test more than the viral culture.
When Are Herpes Tests Accurate
In the table below, we summarize information about the timing of herpes testing.
One of the most important factors in any infectious disease testing is doing it at the right time. This means two things in the case of herpes:
- For the blood test to be accurate, the right amount of time needs to have passed
- The swab test should be done while symptoms are âfreshâ
For each available herpes test, we will mention:
- The earliest testing time
Read Also: Can You Get Herpes Cream Over The Counter
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- What is the best treatment for me?
- What happens if I dont treat a cold sore?
- What are the side effects of antiviral medications?
- How can I reduce the risk of future outbreaks?
- Whats the best way to prevent getting another STI?
- How can I protect my partner from getting genital herpes?
- Should I lookout for signs of complications?
Herpes Testing : What Are Your Options
Medically reviewed by Michele Emery, DNP
Are you worried you might have been exposed to the herpes virus?
First: don’t 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 you’re ready, read on.
Recommended Reading: Does Alcohol Kill Herpes Virus On Surfaces
How To Use An External Condom
1. Open carefully
Dont use teeth, scissors or a knife to open the condom. Roughly tearing or handling the condom can damage it. If the person handling the condom has long fingernails, be extra careful as they can nick the condom, making it ineffective, putting you at risk of STI or unplanned pregnancy.
2. Place and pinch
Its recommended to use lubricated condoms and, if needed, add a personal lubricant to the outside of the condom to decrease the risk of breaking and to decrease discomfort.
Dont Miss: Can You Donate Plasma With Herpes
Frequently Asked Questions About Sti Testing
By Donna White | Aug. 16, 2018, 2:01 p.m.
Missouri has STIs. Do you? Theres only one way to find out: get yourself tested.
Many people know they should get tested for STIs, but arent sure how testing works or what to expect when they get to the health center. Sexually transmitted infections may seem scary, but getting yourself tested doesnt have to be. Here are some of the most common questions we get about STI testing.
Also Check: Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For Herpes
How Long Does It Take To Get An Std
Each STD has a unique incubation period. For some STDs, the incubation period for testing can be as short as a week or two, and for other STDs, as long as a few months.
If you believe you have been exposed to a specific STD, its important to learn about its incubation period so you know how long you should wait to get tested.
Recommended Reading: How Often Are Herpes Outbreaks
How Long Will It Take To Get Std Results Back
There isnt a set time to get your STD results back. Several factors determine how long does it take to get STD test results back from the doctor:
- The kind of disease youre being tested for
- The testing method used
- The location of the test
Below provides an overview of the type of results you may receive and how long they could take.
Dont Miss: How To Treat Herpes Sores On Buttocks
Read Also: How Do You Test For Herpes Simplex
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 haven’t 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.
Why The Test Is Performed
The test is done to find out whether a person has ever been infected with oral or genital herpes. It looks for antibodies to herpes simplex virus 1 and herpes simplex virus 2 . An antibody is a substance made by the body’s immune system when it detects harmful substances such as the herpes virus. This test does not detect the virus itself.
Also Check: How To Not Transfer Herpes
How Is Herpes Treated
Herpes cannot be cured, but it can be managed. Medications are available that can prevent or shorten the duration of herpes outbreaks. There is a medicine that you can take on a daily basis that can help prevent outbreaks and also lower your risk of spreading the virus to others. Talk to your healthcare provider about your options. Antiviral medications such as acyclovir, famciclovir and valacyclovir can suppress outbreaks and shorten the duration of symptoms and active shedding of virus.
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.
You May Like: Genital Herpes Treatment Over The Counter
How Long Do Std Test Results Take
2-3 days is the average length of time it takes to receive STD test results. However, its very important to make sure you follow certain instructions so your test is as effective as possible. Making sure you take the sample correctly and wait until the incubation period is over can make the difference between a false and a true negative.
The body takes time to recognize and produce antibodies in reaction to the invading bacteria, virus or parasite. This is known as the incubation period.
Taking an STD test too early you may lead to negative result for the disease even if you do have it.
Here are the following incubation periods for some common STDs:
- Chlamydia: 7-21 days
Can I Take The Test At Home
At-home tests are available to test for evidence of an HSV infection. At-home herpes testing typically detects HSV antibodies in a self-collected sample of blood and may require additional follow-up if preliminary results are positive. At-home herpes tests can be obtained online or at a local pharmacy.
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of Herpes Bumps
What Does Sti Testing Involve
STI tests may look for things like gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV or syphilis. If you dont have symptoms, STI testing involves providing a urine sample and/or a blood sample. The urine can be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia. The blood sample can be tested for HIV and syphilis.
If you do have symptoms, a clinician will evaluate your symptoms. The clinician may swab the symptomatic areas of your body for testing. They may also ask you to provide a urine sample and/or a blood sample. Although the clinician may be able to say whether or not you have an STI, the test can tell you for sure which STI you have, and will help identify the appropriate treatment.
Dont Miss: Is Herpes Part Of Std Testing
What Does Herpes Look Like
We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Heres our process.
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.
Don’t Miss: How To Get Herpes To Heal Faster