What Is The Herpes Simplex Virus
The herpes simplex virus is a type of virus that causes infections in humans. Approximately 3.7 billion people under the age of fifty â or 67% â have been infected with HSV-1 in their lifetimes. There are about 491 million cases of HSV-2 worldwide â or 13% of the global population between the ages of 15 and 49.
HSV is spread through direct contact with the virus. This can happen during sex or while giving birth.
The virus leads to an increased risk of infection with human immunodeficiency virus . It can also cause you to develop more severe conditions if you have a compromised immune system.
HSV can have particularly problematic results if youâre infected with the virus when youâre born. The chance of passing it on while pregnant is low but â if it happens â it can lead to disabilities and death.
Thereâs also a social stigma associated with this virus that can be damaging to your mental health if you ever become infected.
How Soon After Unprotected Sex Can I Test For Herpes
Herpes has an incubation period of 2 to 12 days for initial infections. This means it can take 12 days for it to show on a test. The symptoms can appear quickly after exposure. This leaves a short window of time within which to do a swab test. Blood tests can however be accurate even months after exposure. You can wait either until symptoms appear or allow the incubation period to end before performing a blood test after unprotected sex.
If you test positive for herpes, it will be a lifelong condition. This applies to both HPV 1 and HPV 2. There is no need to retest if confirmed positive. Simply manage the symptoms as they come.
How To Cure Herpes
Herpes is not life-threatening, however. While it may bring discomfort, even pain, the greatest problems generated are social and emotional. For better or worse, those suffering from this hardship are not alone. It is estimated that there are fifty million people throughout the United States with genital herpes. Despite the fact that so many have this health problem, it is still a matter of social stigma. While there is no outright cure for this hardship, nowadays those afflicted with have learned to adapt to their situation in numerous ways.
The sad news is oral and genital herpes have no cure. But the good news is, there are some treatment options available. The best thing you can do is to avoid physical contact with the herpes patient to remain safe. Acyclovir, Famciclovir, and Valacyclovir are the most commonly used antiviral medicines for herpes.
There are workshops, support groups, even dating services directly aimed at helping people with this problem. For this reason, people suffering from this problem lead happy, healthy lives. Further, there are medications that, while not utterly eliminating the virus from the body, are able to contain the symptoms, thus alleviating the majority of the problems that this malady brings with it.
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How Long Do Herpes Test Results Take
As soon as you have collected the fluid sample and sent it to the lab, it can take just 2 to 3 days after the sample has reached the lab for the results to be ready. One of the Superdrug Online doctors will contact you through the patient account created online. This is an encrypted channel that protects your privacy.
If there is a need for more information, the doctor may call you. You will never be contacted through email or text with your results.
How Much Does The Herpes Std Testing Cost
Herpes STD testing cost ranges between $55 and $130 in different labs and facilities across the U.S. The cost of herpes STD testing also depends on the choice of your specific herpes testing or testing for herpes infection as a package
No prior appointment is required. Order your test online and visit the lab during lab business hours. Complete the procedure and get the results in your email in 2 to 3 business days.
The following table shows the Herpes test cost at 3 of our partner laboratories network located across the U.S.
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Benefits And Downsides Of At
To decide if at-home genital and oral herpes testing is right for you, its important to remember that this form of testing has both benefits and downsides.
Benefits of at-home genital and oral herpes testing include:
- Transparent pricing: Costs can add up quickly when patients have testing performed in a doctors office or other medical facility. At-home testing offers transparent pricing that allows patients to rest assured that they understand the total price of genital and oral herpes testing.
- Privacy: At-home testing is private and convenient. Patients can order an at-home genital and oral herpes test kit when they want without having to make an appointment at a medical office or clinic.
- Easy to use: Testing for antibodies to HSV at home is a straightforward and simple process: order your test kit online, collect a small sample of blood from a simple finger prick using supplies contained in the test kit, and return your sample to the laboratory. Unlike testing performed by a doctor, theres no waiting room or blood draw from your arm.
The downsides of at-home genital and oral herpes testing include:
As you consider the benefits and downsides of at-home genital and oral herpes testing, it may be helpful to talk with a doctor or other health professional about testing for HSV in your specific case. It is especially important to talk with a doctor if you have active symptoms of a herpes infection.
How Is The Test Used
Herpes testing may be used a few different ways:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend screening for herpes in the general population, but it may be helpful in some cases, such as:
- If you have signs and symptoms, such as genital sores that may be related to herpes
- If you have or had a sex partner with genital herpes
- If you would like to have a complete exam for sexually transmitted diseases , especially if you have multiple sex partners if this is the case, you should discuss STD testing with your healthcare practitioner.
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What Can I Do To Make Sure I Am Getting A Type
There are two ways to ensure that you are getting a truly type-specific test:
- There are several research labs that can perform type-specific tests, but the most reliable and widely used of these research tests is the Western blot.
- A finger prick test for herpes called the POCkit HSV-2 Rapid Test has also been approved
Why Doctors Dont Automatically Test You For Herpes
OK, clearly herpes is super common. So why dont doctors automatically test for it when you ask to get tested for everything? To answer that question, its important to understand the difference between STI testing and STI screening. Testing is done when you have symptoms, whereas screening is done in the absence of symptomsjust to check to see if youve been exposed.
Doctors will screen for STIs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia even in the absence of symptoms. This is key from a public health perspective because catching these infections in time can prevent serious complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease. This happens when an untreated STI like gonorrhea or chlamydia infects reproductive organs, possibly leading to infertility.
Experts dont screen for herpes for a few reasons.
The U.S. Preventative Task Force has recommended against screening asymptomatic adolescents and adults for HSV infections. The rationale is that there is no health benefit thats been proven and there a couple of risks, Dr. Johnston says. One is a false positive test, and the second is a risk of anxiety is not associated with serious health outcomes, yet its still feared.
Even pregnant people who could theoretically risk passing the virus during childbirth are not screened unless they have a history of herpes outbreaks or a current outbreak, Peter Leone, M.D., of UNCs Institute of Global Health and Infectious Diseases, tells SELF.
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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.
When Should I Get Tested For Herpes
According to the CDC, there are three primary instances when you should consider getting tested for herpes.
- If you have genital symptoms consistent with herpes
- If your sex partner has been diagnosed with herpes
- If you want a complete STD examination
A thorough STD exam is recommended if you have multiple sex partners so you can protect both yourself and others as effectively as possible.
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Best For Fast Results
- Price: $45
- Type of Sample: Blood test
- Results: Online results in 1 to 2 days
STD Check has more than 4,500 testing sites nationwide. You can choose an individual test like HSV-1 or HSV-2 for $45 each. You can also order a 10-test panel, which includes the most common STIs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea.
The company is known for its fast test results, which are sent to your online account in 1 to 2 days.
Once you complete your order online, you can select a local testing center based on your ZIP code. According to the company, in-person tests only take 5 minutes.
Your test and results will be completely confidential. If your test results are positive, a physician can answer questions about your diagnosis.
How Effective Is A Blood Test
The sensitivity and specificity of blood tests is better than culture or antigen tests, but there are two important factors to consider:
if this is the first exposure to herpes, a person may take several weeks to develop the antibodies that blood tests look for. This means that if you perform the test too early the antibodies that the tests look for may not show up and you may receive a false-negative diagnosis.
some blood tests cannot tell the difference between the two types of herpes simplex, HSV-1 and HSV-2 . For this reason, anyone seeking an accurate diagnosis of their herpes type should request a type-specific test, which can accurately distinguish HSV-2 from HSV-1 antibodies.
Most commercially available kit assays currently cannot make this distinction despite their claims.
Type-specificity in a blood test does not depend on the antibody class being detected , but on what the antibodies are directed against .
In herpes, most type specific antibodies are directed against a protein called glycoprotein G . The gG in HSV-1 differs substantially from the corresponding gG in HVS-2 .
Therefore, herpes blood tests which are based around specific detection of antibodies to either gG1 or to gG2 will be type-specific. People who are getting a type-specific test for genital herpes should ensure that the test they receive detects antibodies to gG2 since there are still blood tests out there which claim to be type-specific but which are not.
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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.
Preparing For Your Herpes Std Test And Appointment
After you make an appointment with your doctor or gynecologist, youll want to prepare some basic questions and answers to discuss with your healthcare provider. Your doctor will want to know your symptoms when they began, any medications or supplements you take, and what your sexual lifestyle is as far as partners and protection habits.
Youll also want a list of good questions for the doctor. Some basic ones to include:
- What type of test will I need?
- Should I get tested for other STDs?
- Should my partner get tested?
- How do I avoid infecting my partner?
Your doctor will also ask you questions during the appointment, especially about any pain you may feel in your pelvis, pain while urinating, or if you have any unusual discharge.
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- We offer same day or next day appointments and allow you to book your appointments online
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- Appointments available
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- All testing done with a simple blood sample, urine sample and/or oral tests that are done by collecting a sample from the back of the throat.
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- Clinician will call you and review all positive results.
- Your credit card statement will discreetly show payment to “e7 Health”
- We do not accept insurance, however, we do put all the insurance codes on your invoice so you can submit it to your insurance for full/partial reimbursement if it is a covered benefit.
How Much Does The Test Cost
The cost of testing for genital and oral herpes depends on the type of test that is performed, where the test is conducted, and whether the patient has medical insurance. Testing is often covered by insurance when ordered by a doctor, although patients may still be responsible for costs such as copays and deductibles.
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When Should I Get A Genital And Oral Herpes Test
In general, genital and oral herpes testing is only recommended for patients that show symptoms of an HSV infection, patients who are at an increased risk of contracting the virus , and patients who may develop severe complications from an infection.
There are no expert guidelines for when to use an at-home genital and oral herpes test. Lab-based testing overseen by a doctor is typically recommended for patients experiencing active symptoms that could be caused by an HSV infection. Symptoms of HSV infection may be mild or severe, including:
- Itching, burning, or tingling near the site of infection
- Blisters or rashes
Genital and oral herpes testing may also be recommended for certain groups of people, including:
- Sexual partners of people diagnosed with genital herpes
- People looking for a comprehensive STD test panel, particularly those with multiple sexual partners
- Infants born to a parent with an HSV infection, as herpes can spread to the baby during pregnancy.
Outside of these groups of people, screening for herpes in patients without symptoms or the above factors is not recommended by expert groups.
If a patient is concerned about having genital or oral herpes, its important to talk to a doctor. A doctor can assess the patients risk for HSV, discuss testing strategies, and evaluate whether at-home testing is appropriate.
Herpes Testing: Types Accuracy Timing And Necessity
In this section, weâll give you information about herpes testing.
Testing is what ultimately establishes or rule out a diagnosis of herpes. All the other weâve talked aboutâwhat you feel, what you see, and your odds of getting itâhelp us with the diagnosis, but theyâve canât establish it or confirm it.
This section will summarize the different types of herpes tests, their accuracy, how theyâre interpreted, and when theyâre necessary. Tables with important statistics will be followed by FAQ answered by âDr. F,â an STD expert.
So, if you want to know all about herpes testing, this chapter is for you!
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