When There Are No Visible Symptoms
Blood tests are generally used in cases where no visible symptoms are present. A blood test works by detecting the presence of herpes antibodies. There is a possibility that the virus will not show up in a blood test, and a positive result is not always indicative that a person has genital herpes.
Firstly, after the first exposure to herpes, a person may take several weeks to develop the antibodies that the test looks for. Usually, it takes two weeks to three months after exposure to herpes for antibodies to appear in the blood. Some blood tests detect antibodies sooner than others. However, once antibodies are found they remain in the body for life.
Secondly, blood tests cannot tell the difference between the two types of herpes, HSV-1 and HSV-2. For this reason, anyone seeking an accurate diagnosis of genital herpes must be sure to get a type-specific serologic test, which can accurately distinguish HSV-2 from HSV-1 antibodies. Most commercially available kit assays currently cannot make this distinction despite their claims.
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.
Is There Anything Else I Need To Know About An Hsv Test
The best way to prevent genital herpes or another STD is to not have sex. If you are sexually active, you can reduce your risk of infection by
- Being in a long-term relationship with one partner who has tested negative for STDs
- Using condoms correctly every time you have sex
If you’ve been diagnosed with genital herpes, condom use can reduce your risk of spreading the infection to others.
Read Also: How To Heal Herpes Quickly
Hsv 1/2 Test Results Interpretation
Positive IgG antibodies against Virus herpes 1 means the body is immune to this virus or the immunity still build up, the same for IgG antiherpes antibodies means an old infection that the body has built defense against.Positive IgM anti-herpes antibodies Virus 1 and 2 means the body just started the immunity response against the herpes virus, while beginning of the virus infection may be occurred several weeks ago.In the acute stage of herpes infection skin lesions with characteristic blisters occur by HSV-1 or genitalia sores which associated with STD infections. Severe manifestations, such as an HSV-associated encephalitis or herpes corneae are rare. Herpes simplex virus infects the neurons of the dorsal root ganglia, where it causes lifelong latent infection. The virus is often reactivated, leading to recurrent symptoms.Which Ab. test can detect herpes virus earlier?In the acute stage of infection direct detection of the virus from the vesicles content via PCR is indicated. In addition, detection of IgM antibodies against HSV is important to confirm acute primary infection. However, not all patients produce IgM antibodies in the acute phase of infection besides, IgM antibodies may also be detectable in cases of recurrent or persistent infection.What is the most accurate specific test against herpes virus types other than PCR test?What is against HSV-1 glycoprotein G or HSV-2 glycoprotein G ?Classic ELISA Antibody Blood Test
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 .
Read Also: Can You Get Herpes In Your Nose
How We Chose The Best At
When researching at-home herpes tests, we considered online reviews, privacy protocols, result times, result accuracy, and budget.
We prioritized affordable pricing and accessibility to digital results. Additionally, we kept an eye on user ratings and reviews to ensure that most people received accurate results and were happy with their experience.
Is There Another Type Of Over The Counter Herpes Test
Another way to test for herpes is to test the fluid from a blister when you have one. However, this type of test requires you to wait until you have a herpes outbreak before you test for herpes. This makes it unsuitable as a screening test.
In addition, because herpes causes a distinctive appearance, having herpes blisters is usually a good indication that you have herpes. Doctors often dont even test the blisters, because they can tell its herpes by the appearance. Because of this, a home test kit for herpes blisters would probably not be very useful.
For these reasons, this type of herpes test is not available over the counter. The only type of genital herpes home test kit thats generally available is the blood test for antibodies to the virus.
Don’t Miss: Can You Have Genital Herpes And Never Know It
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.
Is An At Home Herpes Test Accurate
01 Sep 2022
- Written by Dr. Patricia Shelton on 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?
Also Check: How To Kill Herpes Virus
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 bodys immune system when it detects harmful substances such as the herpes virus. This test does not detect the virus itself.
Does My Healthcare Provider Include A Blood Test For Genital Herpes When They Test Me For Everything
Herpes blood tests may or may not be part of the tests your healthcare provider gives you. They may choose tests based on several factors .
They will also evaluate you for signs or symptoms of herpes to choose which tests to use. This is why its important to talk openly and honestly with your provider during your visit. Ask them which infections they are and are not testing you for and why.
Recommended Reading: Why Do I Keep Having Herpes Breakouts
Is Alzheimers Disease Related To Hsv
Alzheimers disease is a progressive brain disease that develops as a result of a complex series of events occurring in the brain over a long period of time. The causes of Alzheimers disease may include genetic, environmental, and other factors. Several different factors have been statistically linked to Alzheimers disease, including HSV-1 infection. However, some investigations suggest that viruses other than HSV-1 may influence Alzheimers disease. More research is needed to determine whether or not there is a causal link between HSV-1 infection and Alzheimers disease.
How Do You Test For Herpes
- If you have a visible blister or sore. The liquid from the sore can be taken using a swab sample. Its best to test the fluid that appears from a sore within 48 hours of its appearance.
- A blood test test can also be used to detect herpes simplex I or herpes simplex II. If you suspect that you have contracted herpes, its important to get tested as soon as possible.
Also Check: Topical Medicine For Genital Herpes
You May Like: Can You Get Rid Of Mouth Herpes
Herpes Blood Test And Results
- The test is used for diagnosing both HSV-1 and HSV-2, which is performed for people who have the symptoms or close contact with an infected person.
- These tests are type-specific glycoprotein G-based that are used to detect any antibodies presence to the herpes virus in the blood.
- If the blood test shows the antibodies of HSV-2, you can confirm that you are infected by genital herpes.
- The commonly affecting is HSV-1, which is an oral infection, but still, there are chances for people with HSV-1 getting a genital infection and, in some cases, the type of herpes cannot be determined.
- The disease symptoms may tend to develop 2 to 20 days after getting exposed to the virus, so if you check as soon as the exposure, it may show negative but turns positive within days.
False test results
Usually, the herpes blood tests give the person accurate results, but it may go wrong when everyone should know. There are concerns regarding the faulty positive effects of the herpes blood tests.
This can happen with any of the diagnostic tests, but as this is a lifelong infection, it badly affects the person, which worries the researchers in the field. Considering these factors, this test is advised only to people with herpes symptoms or to the high risk persons of infection, like the partner of a patient with genital herpes.
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
- The ideal testing time
|The swab test may be performed as soon as the first blisters appear .Technique: A doctor scrapes the fresh lesion, collecting skin and fluid. To get accurate test results, this should be done within 48 hours of the appearance of the lesion .Note that technique and timing are important. This test is not commonly done for that reason,
|Blood test for IgG
|12 weeks after the initial exposure, over 92% of infected people are positive
Get treated and/or tested for herpes
Same day treatment and testing
Read Also: L Lysine Herpes Type 2
How Accurate Are The Herpes Tests
It can be incredibly stressful to wonder if you have herpes. Thats true whether youre concerned because of symptoms because you know youve just been exposed, or for any other reasons. One way to determine whether or not you have genital herpes or oral herpes infection is to get a herpes test.
Many people have questions about how accurate herpes tests are. The truth is that herpes blood tests work reasonably well, but no test is perfect.
As with all herpes viruses, once an individual is infected with the herpes simplex virus, or HSV, he or she is infected for life. The presence of antibodies against herpes simplex means an individual is currently infected with the virus.
The accuracy of a herpes blood test depends on two things: how many people in the tested population have herpes and which specific test was used.
Can Herpes Be Dormant And Not Show Up In A Blood Test
During the herpes incubation period, you may still test negative for the virus, as your body is building an immune response to the infection. If your immune system has not yet produced the antibodies, they wont show up on an antibody test. This can lead you to believe that you dont have the virus, even though you do.
You May Like: Can You Put Cold Sore Cream On Genital Herpes
Detecting Viral Genetic Material
General representation of steps of DNA amplification using polymerase chain reaction. DNA amplification using the TaqMan chemistry mechanism.
Recently, multiplexed quantitative PCR was used to detect HSV in intraoral commensal by Yap et al. . For this study, the DNA was extracted from samples collected from oral swabs and saliva samples and prepared using commercially available sample processing kits. This extracted fragment of DNA was amplified using qPCR with a fluorescent probe, which is useful for monitoring the real-time amplification of HSV-1 and HSV-2 DNAs. UL44 and UL3 target regions were chosen for the amplification. The limit of detection for each target was established using Vircell Quantified Amplirun DNA controls and was found to be 15 cp/PCR for HSV-1 and 8 cp/PCR for HSV-2. The viral load quantification was done with a standard curve. Among a pool of samples tested for the human herpes virus, 4.3% were reported to have HSV-1 with no trace of HSV-2 DNA.
A comparative study between PCR and viral culture methods showed 100% sensitivity and specificity for the PCR technique in detecting HSV-1 and -2 over the viral culture method, which has a sensitivity of 50% with 100% specificity . Another study compared the shell vial culture method and custom-designed FRET based real-time- PCR, called LightCycler PCR, and found 100% specificity of LightCycler PCR, with increased sensitivity over shell vial techniques in detecting the virus .
There Are Two Common Blood Tests Used To Identify Herpes And They’re 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 that’s 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 you’ve been exposed to oral herpes , results of the IgM test could lead you to believe you’re positive for genital herpes, when in fact you simply have antibodies against HSV-1.
IgG tests, on the other hand, are more accurate, but aren’t 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 .
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.
You May Like: How Soon Can I Get Tested For Herpes After Exposure