Monday, September 19, 2022

I Tested Positive For Herpes

How Is Herpes Simplex Diagnosed

Understanding Herpes Testing

Healthcare providers may diagnose herpes simplex based on how the sores look. Your provider may take a sample from the sore. Laboratory analysis of the sample can confirm or rule out the herpes virus.

If you dont have sores, your healthcare provider can use a blood test to check for HSV-1 and HSV-2 antibody, a marker showing youve been exposed to the virus. The blood test doesnt show an active infection . But it informs your provider whether youve been exposed to the herpes virus in the past. If this is your first infection, you may not test positive for herpes if there hasnt been enough time for your body to develop antibodies. The HSV-1and HSV-2 antibody test may be repeated in eight to 12 weeks.

How Is The Test Used

Herpes testing may be used a few different ways:

  • Herpes simplex virus PCR testing or culture may be used to diagnose an active herpes infection if you have signs and symptoms, such as genital sores or encephalitis.
  • HSV PCR is the preferred test to diagnose newborns suspected of having neonatal herpes, a rare but serious condition in which herpes is contracted during vaginal birth.
  • HSV antibody testing may be used to determine whether you have been exposed to HSV in the past. This may be helpful in screening certain populations, such as potential organ transplant recipients. It may also be useful for pregnant women to help determine the risk of them passing an HSV-2 infection to their baby.
  • PCR and antibody testing may be used to distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2 infections.
  • 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.

    I Tested Positive For Herpes What Should I Do Now

    For most people, having herpes does not affect their health or quality of life. To prevent passing on cold sores and genital herpes to others, a person can:

    • avoid kissing others when the virus is active
    • use condoms when having sex
    • avoid skin-to-skin contact during an active outbreak
    • avoid sharing towels, toothbrushes, and lipstick when they have sores around the mouth
    • wash their hands well after touching a sore

    Having multiple sexual partners can increase the risk of

    transmitting STIs such as herpes. People can decrease this risk by openly discussing STI status and prevention with any partners and practicing safe sex.

    It is

    You May Like: Why Do I Have Frequent Herpes Outbreaks

    Why Have False Positive Tests Been Used As An Argument Against Routine Testing For Genital Herpes But Not For Other Stds Which Can Also Have False Positives

    False positive test results are test results that say a person has a disease or condition when they do not actually have it. False positive results can occur with many diagnostic tests, including STD tests. The chances of false positive results increase as the likelihood of the infection decreases in the person being tested. False positive HSV-2 results can happen, especially in people who are at low risk for a herpes infection. Also, we do not know if people who test positive for herpes will change their sexual behavior as a result of a positive test. This tells us that the harm of a possible false positive test may be a greater concern than the benefits of an actual diagnosis. Unlike curable STDs, such as chlamydia, herpes infections are life-long, so it is especially important to avoid a false positive test.

    Staying Safe While Avoiding Panic And Stigma

    ¿Qué significa una prueba de sangre positiva para el Herpes IgG?

    It can be tempting to freak out a little bit when you realize that herpes is both super-common and something you arent routinely getting tested for. So how do you process that information?

    The first step is practicing the same safe sex that you know helps protect you from other STIs. Your best bet here is a barrier method like internal and external condoms for any penetration and physical shields such as dental dams for any oral play. Even though this wont fully protect you from herpes , it will reduce how much of your skin touches your partners.

    This is why screening for herpes infection in the absence of any symptoms wouldnt really do much to cut back on casesthe advice would be the same: Practice safe sex with barrier methods. I agree right now with the recommendations not to screen people, but I think if we had a better diagnostic strategy, I would be much more in favor of routine screenings, Dr. Johnston says. It is important for people to know their status so they can protect themselves and their partners.

    If you think you have herpes, see a doctor such as your ob/gyn or dermatologist , or go to your local health clinic. A medical expert can evaluate your symptoms, take samples for testing, and eventually offer treatment options if you need them.

    You will likely be started on antiviral medications to help you heal faster and make you less contagious, Dr. Bard says.

    Related:

    Also Check: How Do I Know My Herpes Outbreak Is Over

    What Are The Symptoms Of Herpes Simplex

    Many people with the infection never experience any herpes symptoms. If you do notice symptoms, youll experience them differently depending on whether youre having your first herpes outbreak or a repeat outbreak. Recurring symptoms are usually milder than the first outbreak. Symptoms dont last as long with later outbreaks. Some people may only have one or two outbreaks during their lifetime. Others may have as many as four or five outbreaks a year.

    People who do have herpes symptoms may experience:

    • Cold sores around their lips, mouth or tongue. They may look crusty or like fluid-filled blisters.
    • Tingling, itching or burning.
    • Pain while urinating.

    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!

    Also Check: How To Deal With Herpes 1

    Should I Get Tested Again

    You may want to go for a repeat test after six months if you do not undergo regular sexually transmitted infection screening. In doing so, you’re more likely to identify an infection without missing the window in which the tests are accurate.

    Speak with your healthcare provider about when it’s best for you to get tested, and if there are other tests you should consider.

    How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Herpes Simplex

    A Vaccine Pathway for Herpes Virus with Gregory Smith, PhD

    Preventing HSV-1

    You can reduce your risk of contracting HSV-1 by avoiding physical contact with someone who has a cold sore. People can still spread HSV-1 when cold sores arent present, but its less likely.

    If someone has an active HSV-1 infection, avoid:

    • Sharing utensils, cups, lip balms or other personal care products.
    • Touching the skin near their mouth.

    Preventing HSV-2

    If youre sexually active, you can take these steps to protect yourself and others from the herpes virus and other STIs:

    • Be monogamous with one sexual partner or limit your number of partners.
    • Get tested for STIs and complete any prescribed treatment.
    • Tell your sexual partners if you have genital herpes so they can get tested.
    • Use condoms during intercourse and dental dams during oral sex.

    Wash your hands often if you have an outbreak or are around someone with symptoms.

    If your sexual partner has genital herpes, these actions can lower your risk of getting the virus:

    • Dont have sex when your partner has active symptoms. Condoms may not cover all sores, so you may still get the virus.
    • Make sure your partner takes antiviral medication as prescribed.
    • Wait to have sex until scabs fall off active lesions.

    You May Like: How To Protect Yourself From Herpes 2

    What Is Neonatal Herpes

    Neonatal herpes can be a very serious infection. Babies generally contract the virus from their birthing parent during childbirth even if the parent doesnt have active lesions. They may also get HSV-1 if an adult with an active cold sore kisses them. Breastfeeding babies can also get HSV-1 from the breast if there are lesions present. But babies cant get herpes from breast milk, so its safe to pump and feed.

    Herpes simplex can be more dangerous for young babies because they dont have a fully developed immune system. But most babies with neonatal herpes can recover fully with treatment.

    The dangers of neonatal herpes are much higher if the infection spreads to the babys organs. If youre pregnant and have herpes, speak with your healthcare provider about how to lower the risk of passing the infection to your baby.

    Can Herpes Be Misdiagnosed What Affects An Accurate Diagnosis

    It can be hard to cope with a herpes diagnosis, especially due to the stigma around HSV. But its important to know your status, and your results can determine future social and medical choices. So its completely valid to wonder: can herpes be misdiagnosed? The answer is yes. In fact, herpes is misdiagnosed approximately 20 percent of the time! Its typically mistaken for other common infections. In some cases, a test returns a false positive for herpes. Lets go over both, and what you can do for accurate results.

    Also Check: How Can You Get Tested For Herpes

    How Is Herpes Simplex Treated

    Some people have few to no herpes outbreaks and choose not to have treatment. But many people prefer to use medications that shorten outbreaks and reduce symptoms.

    During an outbreak, you may use an antiviral ointment or cream to help lessen your symptoms and help them go away faster, but it only works if you start it soon after you start an outbreak. Many people with HSV-2 take daily oral medications to keep outbreaks at bay.

    Your provider may prescribe a topical medication or oral medication such as:

    How Soon After Unprotected Sex Can I Test For Herpes

    IGG Test Results   Please Help Me Read

    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.

    Back to top

    Also Check: Is Hpv And Herpes The Same

    When To Get Tested For Hiv

    FAST FACTS

    If you think you might have been exposed to HIV, its best to speak to a healthcare professional immediately.

    Even if you dont think you have been at risk, testing regularly is good practice for people who are having sex. Its important to test for HIV during pregnancy. If you know your status, you can avoid passing the virus on to your baby. A window period is the amount of time it takes after infection for a test to give you an accurate result. Its good to know about window periods, but dont delay getting tested if you think you might have been exposed to HIV.

    Dont Miss: Does Herpes Make Your Immune System Weak

    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?

    Read Also: Can Someone With Herpes Donate Blood

    How Do Std Test Kits Work

    Using an STD test kit is simple and usually requires no referrals or prescriptions from your doctor. The process may vary slightly from one company to the next, but one commonality is that they are delivered straight to your door and can be taken from the comfort of your home, eliminating the need to visit a doctor or clinic in person. Heres a general breakdown of what you can expect:

    Receiving your kit:

    After you order your kit, it will be shipped to you in a discreet package and will include all the instructions, forms, and return information youll need. Most kits will include a barcode that you enter into the site which logs you into your own portal. This is typically where youll receive your results and communicate with staff.

    Collecting a sample:

    Collecting your sample can be done in minutes, though the squeamish may want some company for assistance or support. The sample needed depends on the test, but the 3 most common sample types are urine, vaginal swab, and finger-prick. The kit will include complete instructions as well as all the materials necessary for collecting and shipping the sample.

    Submitting for results:

    After youve collected your sample, you need to send it to the lab to be tested. The time it takes to receive your results varies but generally spans 3 days to 2 weeks depending on the company.

    Results are typically delivered via a private online portal.

    Follow-up:

    Read Also: How Do You Know If You Have Herpes

    How Long Does It Take For Symptoms Of Herpes To Appear

    Understanding Genital Herpes

    It generally takes anywhere from 4 to 7 days for herpes symptoms to appear. Both genital and oral herpes outbreaks have similar symptoms.

    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.

    Don’t Miss: Herpes At Home Test Kit

    How Do I Talk To My Sex Partners

    Telling them about your condition can be hard. Take some time to learn what you can and understand your own feelings first. You may be more at ease to talk openly.

    Some people you tell might not think its such a big deal. Others will have strong feelings about it.

    You cant control how anyone else reacts. All you can do is share what you know, answer questions, and give them time to think about it.

    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.

    Also Check: Herpes Type 1 On Genital Area

    Could My Partner Have Picked Up Genital Herpes From A Toilet Seat Or Hot Tub

    It’s very rare, if not impossible, to get genital herpes any other way than by sexual contact. The CDCs website puts it this way: You will not get herpes from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools, or from touching objects around you such as silverware, soap, or towels.

    Keep in mind that many people have genital herpes for years or even decades without knowing it. When they are diagnosed, their monogamous partners often assume they were unfaithful, which may not be true. It could be something they got a long time ago. A blood test wont tell you when you got herpes or who you got it from.

    The New England Journal of Medicine: “Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 in the United States, 1976 to 1994.”

    American Sexual Health Association, National Herpes Resource Center.

    National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases : “Genital Herpes.”

    MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: “Herpes genital .”

    CDC: “Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines 2002.”

    WebMD Medical News: “Herpes Virus Linked to Cervical Cancer.”

    Terri Warren, RN, Westover Heights Clinic.

    Warren, T., and Warren, R., The Updated Herpes Handbook, Portland Press, 2002.

    CDC: Genital Herpes — CDC Fact Sheet.

    Pagination

    Popular Articles
    Related news