When To Get Tested
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What Are The Recurring Symptoms
HSV-1 is a latent and lifelong virus. This means it lies dormant in the system, only to appear sporadically throughout the course of its hosts lifetime. Recurring outbreaks of HSV-1 are much less severe than the initial outbreak and only include the fluid-filled blisters or cold sores. After the blisters form, they eventually break and the fluid oozes out. A yellow scab crusts over the broken blister. Once the scab falls off, theres new skin underneath. These lesions tend to appear in clusters either on the face or in the genital region, and they can last anywhere from 7 days to 3 weeks. Recurring symptoms appear months or even years after the initial outbreak and can continue to occur randomly throughout the infected persons life. Symptoms can surface every month, every year, and sometimes they may never appear at all . Unfortunately, there is no way to identify exactly when the HSV-1 symptoms will emerge. Outbreaks tend to decrease in frequency and severity as time goes on because the body builds up more antibodies to fight off the virus.
Who Is At Risk Of Developing Herpes Simplex Infections
Anyone can contract HSV, regardless of age. Your risk is based almost entirely on exposure to the infection.
In cases of sexually transmitted HSV, people are more at risk when they have sex not protected by condoms or other barrier methods.
Other risk factors for HSV-2 include:
- having multiple sex partners
- having sex at a younger age
- having another sexually transmitted infection
- having a weakened immune system
If a pregnant woman is having an outbreak of genital herpes at the time of childbirth, it can expose the baby to both types of HSV, and may put them at risk for serious complications.
Its important to understand that someone may not have visible sores or symptoms and still have an infection. They may also transmit the virus to others.
Some of the symptoms associated with this virus include:
- blistering sores
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What Is The Hsv Igm Test
The herpes simplex virus, termed as HSV causes an infection called herpes. The virus is categorized into two types, the herpes simplex virus type 1 and herpes simplex virus type 2 . While HSV-1 is caused by physical contact and causes cold sores in the mouth area, the HSV-2 type is transmitted sexually and leads to genital herpes. The virus is highly contagious and causes painful blisters and ulcers at the site of infection. There is no cure for herpes and it can only be controlled by medications and certain home remedies. The HSV IgM test is a blood test that is used to detect the presence of the virus in the system. While the test does not identify the actual virus, it points out certain proteins that are produced by the body in response to the virus.
What Is The Long
People who contract HSV will have the virus for the rest of their lives. Even if it does not manifest symptoms, the virus will continue to live in nerve cells.
Some people may experience regular outbreaks. Others will only experience one outbreak after they contract the virus, and then the virus may become dormant. Even if a virus is dormant, certain stimuli can trigger an outbreak. These include:
- fever or illness
- sun exposure or sunburn
Its believed that outbreaks may become less intense over time because the body starts creating antibodies. If a generally healthy person contracts the virus, there are usually no complications.
Although there is no cure for herpes, you can take measures to avoid contracting the virus, or to prevent transmitting HSV to another person.
If youre experiencing an outbreak of HSV-1, consider taking a few preventive steps:
- Try to avoid direct physical contact with other people.
- Dont share any items that can pass the virus around, such as cups, towels, silverware, clothing, makeup, or lip balm.
- Dont participate in oral sex, kissing, or any other type of sexual activity during an outbreak.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and apply medication with cotton swabs to reduce contact with sores.
Women who are pregnant and have an infection may have to take medication to prevent the virus from infecting their unborn babies.
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Who Might Get Herpes Simplex
People of any age can contract herpes simplex. You are more likely to get the virus if you:
- Were assigned female at birth.
- Have had multiple sex partners.
- Started having sex at a young age.
- Have a history of any sexually transmitted infection .
- Have a weakened immune system.
- Dont use condoms for intercourse and dental dams for oral sex.
Who gets HSV-1, commonly known as oral herpes?
Anyone can get HSV-1. Most people contract HSV-1 during childhood. It spreads when an adult who has the virus has close contact with a child, such as when a family member kisses a child.
Who gets HSV-2, commonly known as genital herpes?
Genital herpes affects sexually active teens and adults of all genders and races. It can spread if you have multiple sexual partners and dont use condoms or dental dams.
People assigned female at birth are more at risk. Delicate vaginal tissue can tear, making it easier for the infection to get in. Black people who were AFAB are especially vulnerable, with an estimated 1 in 2 people AFAB between the ages of 14 and 49 infected with HSV-2.
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Cost And Health Insurance
Depending on where you live and the lab you use, your HSV IgG blood test can cost between $35 and $80. Public clinics tend to be cheaper.
Genital HSV is considered an STI. But donât assume that a free STI clinic will have the test or provide it free of charge. Some may only offer free testing for:
Search for free or low-cost STI clinics in your area by using the GetTested locator offered by the CDC.
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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.
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Questions For Your Doctor About Test Results
The following questions may be useful as patients review genital and oral herpes test results with their doctor:
- What type of test was conducted?
- What is my test result?
- What is the most likely explanation for my test result?
- Are there any follow-up tests that you recommend?
- How should I discuss my test result with sexual partners?
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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 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.
What Other Tests Are Ordered Along With Herpes Simplex Virus Test
Along with testing for antibodies against herpes infection, culture test is also ordered when a person has blisters on the genitals. HSV DNA testing is ordered when the patient may show signs and symptoms of encephalitis. Tests for screening for other STDs, especially HIV testing, is recommended as HSV infection can increase the risk of being infected with other sexually transmitted diseases .
HSV test requires no special preparation. The results are generally obtained within a day or two. Cultures generally take longer and reports are available within two or more days. The test is often ordered when a person is being screened for a previous exposure, has a history of STD, or is at a risk of infection.
Lab Test Report Reading
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Quick Answers For Clinicians
Virologic and serologic testing methods are available to confirm herpes simplex virus infection. Direct detection of the virus by polymerase chain reaction or viral culture is recommended for neonates and patients who have an active infection with lesions, to test for disseminated bloodborne infection in immunocompromised patients, and for cerebrospinal fluid testing. Serologic testing for immunoglobulin G can be used to determine if a person has ever been exposed to HSV but cannot determine exactly when the exposure occurred or the site of infection. Type-specific serologic testing for HSV-1- and HSV-2-specific glycoproteins can determine the subtype of the virus, which provides useful information about prognosis and informs treatment and counseling.
Genital herpes is most often caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 , but HSV-1-associated cases are increasing. Recurrence and subclinical viral shedding occur more frequently in cases caused by HSV-2 than in cases caused by HSV-1, which may impact treatment and counseling decisions. Therefore, subtyping HSV using polymerase chain reaction or serology testing can guide treatment decisions and patient counseling. Subtyping may also provide epidemiologic information about transmission of the virus.
What Is A Home Std Test Kit
A home STD kit is a safe, reliable method for getting yourself tested for one or more sexually transmitted diseases or sexually transmitted infections. These kits can be ordered online. You provide your sample according to the included instructions and send your sample off to be tested. Depending on the number or type of tests, you can usually get results in 2-8 days.
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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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What Do The Results Mean
Your HSV test results will be given as negative, also called normal, or positive, also called abnormal.
Negative/Normal. The herpes virus was not found. You may still have an HSV infection if your results were normal. It may mean the sample didn’t have enough of the virus to be detected. If you still have symptoms of herpes, you may need to get tested again.
Positive/Abnormal. HSV was found in your sample. It may mean you have an active infection , or were infected in the past .
If you tested positive for HSV, talk to your health care provider. While there is no cure for herpes, it hardly ever causes serious health problems. Some people may only have one outbreak of sores their whole lives, while others break out more often. If you want to reduce the severity and number of your outbreaks, your provider may prescribe a medicine that can help.
Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.
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Who Is Rapid Std Testing
Rapid STD Testing is a division of Rapid Screening Test Centre who is predominant test center for STDs and sexual diseases in US. They are the best center with Doctors and professionals who are sexual health experts. These doctors and professional sexual health experts are used to test the patient with different test panels to produce exact result. With 4000 test centers they are the one of the leading and best STD test center in the country.
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Treatment If The Blisters Come Back
Go to a GP or sexual health clinic if you have been diagnosed with genital herpes and need treatment for an outbreak.
Antiviral medicine may help shorten an outbreak by 1 or 2 days if you start taking it as soon as symptoms appear.
But outbreaks usually settle by themselves, so you may not need treatment.
Recurrent outbreaks are usually milder than the first episode of genital herpes.
Over time, outbreaks tend to happen less often and be less severe. Some people never have outbreaks.
Some people who have more than 6 outbreaks in a year may benefit from taking antiviral medicine for 6 to 12 months.
If you still have outbreaks of genital herpes during this time, you may be referred to a specialist.
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How Can I Prevent Transmitting Herpes
Although latex condoms can reduce the risk of transmitting most STIs by 98 percent, condoms dont prevent herpes transmission. This is because not all herpes sores occur in areas that are covered by a condom.
If youre experiencing an active outbreak, you can
- avoiding sexual activity until symptoms go away
- washing your hands thoroughly and applying medication with cotton swabs to reduce contact with sores
Taking a daily antiviral herpes medication can also help prevent transmission, shorten outbreaks, and manage symptoms.
What Else Do I Need To Know Before I Appear For An Hsv Igm Test
The following points can be noted to understand the finer aspects of the test and the viral infection. The IgM tests cannot be used to determine how long the infection has been prevalent in the body or how the patient got infected. The IgM blood test cannot accurately distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2 antibodies and in many cases can provide a false-positive result for HSV-2 virus. In addition, the test can also connect with other viruses like the varicella-zoster virus or cytomegalovirus and provide misleading results. Many patients experience regular herpes outbreaks while in some the virus can remain dormant. It has been noted that the virus can be triggered by certain factors like stress. Issues related to menstrual periods, fever or infections and excessive sun exposure or sunburn. The virus generally does not create any additional complications in a healthy person. The infections can get severe in the case of new-borns who are infected during birth and in individuals with weakened immune systems. It has been noted that herpes can make patients more vulnerable to HIV infections and up to 90% of HIV-infected individuals are found to be co-infected with HSV-2 virus. This is a very common infection around the world and as per statistics, the infections are most common in Africa and least prevalent in the USA.
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