If You Get A Positive Result Dont Panic It Really Doesnt Mean Much
All of this is to say that unless you have symptoms consistent with the herpes virus, why put yourself through the emotional turmoil of getting a blood test that may or may not give you legit results? As Hutcherson notes, if you do get a blood test and it comes back positive but youre asymptomatic, what does that mean for you if you have nothing to treat? For many, due to the high rate of stigma still surrounding herpes, it can mean feelings of self-contempt, humiliation, and distress, all of which could be avoided if you arent experiencing any symptoms.
To recap, while there are some tests for herpes that can prove correct, none are 100 percent perfect, and blood tests are particularly problematic since they can produce false positives and negatives. We also know that the majority of the population has some form of herpes, so IMO its a mystery as to why were still making a big deal out of it. No one likes blisters or sores, but neither does anyone love having acne, a widespread condition without the same level of attached shame.
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What Abnormal Results Mean
A positive test means you have been infected with HSV recently or at some point in the past.
Tests can be done to help determine if you have a recent infection.
About 70% of adults have been infected by HSV-1 and have antibodies against the virus. About 20 to 50% of adults will have antibodies against the HSV-2 virus, which causes genital herpes.
HSV stays in your system once you have been infected. It may be asleep , and cause no symptoms, or it may flare up and cause symptoms. This test cannot tell whether you are having a flare-up.
What Should You Expect
It can be traumatic to find out that you are suffering from a sexually transmitted disease. You may experience feelings of anger, shame, and betrayal. You may also experience feelings of guilt if you suspect that you have infected other people with the illness. However, it is advisable to seek treatment because if ignored, an STD may lead to death or a chronic illness.
When you are planning to undergo a test for sexually transmitted diseases, you may be unsure of what to expect. How should you prepare for an appointment with the gynecologist? It is common for most people to feel uncomfortable to share their sexual experiences. However, to be able to get the best care, you have to rise above this fear and share the information with your gynecologist.
It is important to understand if there are any pre-appointment restrictions. Therefore, ensure that you ask your gynecologist whether you need to do anything before the testing. If you are experiencing any symptoms, you may write them down in advance in preparation for the doctor’s appointment. Ensure that you also take note of all medications you may be taking, including prescribed and over-the-counter medication. Be free with your gynecologist, and seek answers for all questions you may have.
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How Long Does It Take For Symptoms Of Herpes To Appear
The primary symptom of a herpes outbreak is sores that resemble blisters, called herpes lesions, on the mouth or genitals.
In addition, people may also experience the following symptoms prior to the outbreak:
- pain and redness, especially around the area the outbreak will occur
- itching and tingling, primarily in the outbreak area
- flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue, fever, or swollen lymph nodes
Most of the symptoms that occur before an outbreak indicate that the virus is replicating. Symptoms are usually the worst during the first herpes outbreak.
According to the
Some people with the herpes virus are asymptomatic, which means that they dont experience any physical symptoms of the disease. This doesnt mean that they cant spread the disease, however.
Anyone who has the herpes virus, whether symptomatic or not, can spread the virus to others.
If you have the herpes virus and your body has produced antibodies, it can be detected on a blood test, even if you have no symptoms. The only time the virus might not be detected on a test is if youve been tested too early.
How Do You Test For Herpes
You can test for herpes in three different ways: a blood test, a urine test, and/ or a swab test. The right test for you will depend on:
- whether you have any symptoms at the time of your test
- how long ago you think you might have been exposed
- where you think you have herpes
- your personal preferences
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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.
Why You Should Go To A Sexual Health Clinic
You can see a GP, but they’ll probably refer you to a sexual health clinic if they think you might have genital herpes.
Sexual health clinics treat problems with the genitals and urine system.
Many sexual health clinics offer a walk-in service, where you do not need an appointment.
They’ll often get test results quicker than GP practices and you do not have to pay a prescription fee for treatment.
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Can I Treat Herpes Simplex At Home
Avoiding known triggers, such as illness or stress, can help reduce how often you have herpes outbreaks.
How can I ease my symptoms during an outbreak of HSV-1 ?
- Over-the-counter creams such as L-lysine, benzocaine or docosanol .
- Applying ice to blisters or sores.
How can I ease my symptoms during an outbreak of HSV-2 ?
- Apply an ice pack to your genitals. Wrap the ice pack in a washcloth or apply it over your underwear.
- Keep your genitals dry. Wear cotton or other nonsynthetic underpants and avoid tight-fitting clothes. Moist sores take longer to heal.
- Soak in a warm bath.
- Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain.
- Topical 1% or 2% lidocaine may be used as a topical analgesic.
Genital Herpes Treatment In Pregnancy
You may be offered antiviral treatment:
- to treat outbreaks in pregnancy
- from 36 weeks to reduce the chance of an outbreak during birth
- from diagnosis until the birth if you first get herpes after 28 weeks of pregnancy
Many women with genital herpes have a vaginal delivery. You may be offered a caesarean, depending on your circumstances.
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How Soon Can I Test For All Stds At Once
We know it can be hard to wait to get tested. As soon as the thought crosses your mind that you may have an STD, you want to learn your status ASAP. But you know now thats probably not the best idea. You dont want to test too early, and you also dont want to have to visit our labs multiple times because of all the different STD incubation periods.
To make it easy and only have to test once, we suggest waiting to test according to the STD with the longest incubation period. For example, If you wanted to test for everySTD mentioned on this blog post using our comprehensive 10 test STD panel, you would need to wait at least eight weeks to get accurate results, because that is the minimum amount of time hepatitis C needs before it shows up on tests.
Testing And Screening For Stds
You may undergo testing for STD if your current symptoms and your sexual history suggest that you have a sexually transmitted disease. Several laboratory tests can help to identify the cause of the disease. The tests can also help to identify other co-infections you may have. You do not have to wait for particular symptoms for you to undergo STD testing. You may undergo STD screening even if you do not have any symptoms.
It is advisable for persons between the ages of thirteen years and sixty-four years, women included, to undergo regular testing for the human immunodeficiency virus . This is the virus responsible for causing AIDS. If you are at a high risk of acquiring HIV, you should undergo at least one HIV test every year.
Women born between the years 1945 and 1965 have a high risk of developing hepatitis C. The disease does not portray any symptoms until it is advanced in the body. It is, therefore, advisable for women in this age group to undergo testing for hepatitis C now and then.
All pregnant women have to undergo testing for sexually transmitted diseases. If you are pregnant, you may undergo testing for HIV and hepatitis B. You may also undergo testing for other STDs like Chlamydia and Syphilis. You may undergo the tests during your first prenatal visit. Some women have a high risk for hepatitis B and Gonorrhea these women should undergo testing for these STDs at least once during their pregnancy.
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How Common Is Genital Herpes
Genital herpes infection is common in the United States. CDC estimated that there were 572,000 new genital herpes infections in the United States in a single year.1 Nationwide, 11.9 % of persons aged 14 to 49 years have HSV-2 infection .2 However, the prevalence of genital herpes infection is higher than that because an increasing number of genital herpes infections are caused by HSV-1. 3 Oral HSV-1 infection is typically acquired in childhood because the prevalence of oral HSV-1 infection has declined in recent decades, people may have become more susceptible to contracting a genital herpes infection from HSV-1. 4
HSV-2 infection is more common among women than among men the percentages of those infected during 2015-2016 were 15.9% versus 8.2% respectively, among 14 to 49 year olds. 2 This is possibly because genital infection is more easily transmitted from men to women than from women to men during penile-vaginal sex. 5 HSV-2 infection is more common among non-Hispanic blacks than among non-Hispanic whites . 2 A previous analysis found that these disparities, exist even among persons with similar numbers of lifetime sexual partners. Most infected persons may be unaware of their infection in the United States, an estimated 87.4% of 14 to 49 year olds infected with HSV-2 have never received a clinical diagnosis. 6
The age-adjusted percentage of persons in the United States infected with HSV-2 decreased from 18.0% in 19992000 to 12.1% in 2015-2016. 2
Exposed To Herpes Hsv 1 & 2 How Long Must I Wait To Get A Clear Test Result
A month later, he went back to the clinic we initially went to together to be tested, but this time it was for minor chest pain. He saw a doctor who treated him for his chest pains then gave him his std results for his previous visit and wrote him a prescription. There it was. HSV 1 POSITIVE 8.4% and HSV 2 Positive 8.2%. I was devastated!! How did this happen?? Why didn’t the clinic contact him? Or did they? Why didn’t the other clinic test him for herpes???
So a week after, I went to my dr and had blood drawn to test for herpes. Results were NEGATIVE. So then I went back a month later after that and was tested again. Results NEGATIVE. A month after that I had been experiencing extreme tooth pain and needed to get a tooth pulled. The dentist prescribed me with penicillin which I took for 10 days. I think the antibiotics caused me to develop a yeast infection, not to mention, I was on my period at the time and had recently started wearing a different brand of maxi pads which caused me to develop what appeared to be a diaper rash. I check down in my private area and my skin between my butt cheeks were peeling and raw. Slight bleeding, slight itching, slight burning but no physical signs of blisters or cold sores.
I then went back to my dr, and she once again tested me for herpes via blood test. I believe it was the igM screening and igG results. She also prescribed me with fluconazole for the yeast infection. 3 days later my results came back NEGATIVE.
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When Should You Get Tested
The best time to get tested for herpes varies, depending on whats happening.
If youre exhibiting symptoms of an initial outbreak which include pain, itching and redness of the affected location fatigue, fever and chills and, ultimately, painful sores or ulcers its best to see a healthcare professional about getting tested.
However, if you think youve been exposed to the virus and arent yet exhibiting symptoms, HSV may take some time before being able to show results on a test. While the exact time frame is unknown and varies from person to person, two weeks is usually enough time to yield accurate test results.
Most people become concerned about being infected with the herpes virus after contact with a potentially infected person. Often, simple things like kissing someone with a visible cold sore or facial acne around the lips can cause concern about HSV-1.
For genital herpes, most people become concerned about potentially being infected after sexual contact with a person that shows symptoms of herpes. This can include oral sex with someone that has cold sores, which can potentially spread to the genitals.
Since herpes is asymptomatic in many people, you could be infected with the virus even if you dont have any symptoms.
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What Is An Incubation Period
The incubation period is the time needed for the body to develop its response, following an infection. So, when the body gets exposed to a sexually transmitted infection, it starts preparing for an antibody attack to fight it off. As a result, symptoms start appearing. In other words, it is the interval of time between when the person gets exposed to an STD and when symptoms start appearing.
You should not get confused about the incubation and the window period.
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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 havent 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.
Is It Safe To Breastfeed If I Have Genital Herpes
Yes as long as there isnt an open lesion on your chest or breast. If you have an active outbreak while breastfeeding, its possible to spread the infection to your nipples through touch. Careful hand-washing can prevent this spread. You shouldnt nurse from a breast that has herpes sores. You can pump breast milk until the sores heal. Dont give your baby expressed breast milk if the pump comes into contact with an open sore.
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How Soon Should I Test For Stds After Exposure
Use the table below to determine when you should get tested following exposure to an STD. The first column lists some of the most common types of STDs. The second column has the earliest time that tests offered by myLAB Box could be positive after a potential exposure. Some of the times listed are estimates due to limited data in other cases the window period is simply unknown. The third column tells you how long it could take following initial exposure to test positive for an STD.
For example, say you have been potentially exposed to genital herpes. If you look at the second column, it says you should take your first test 2 weeks from the date of exposure. This is the earliest that genital herpes will be detectable in your system. But according to the third column, it could take as long as 4 months, or 16 weeks, for genital herpes to become detectable in your system. In other words, the incubation period for genital herpes could be anywhere from 2 to 16 weeks following exposure.
This means if your results are negative when you get tested two weeks following exposure, you should get retested after 16 weeks. This way, you can confirm that it was not a false negative caused by testing before the STD was detectable.