How Accurate Are Blood Tests For Herpes
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, nearly every person in the United States about 85% of the population will be infected with herpes by the time they reach their sixties. If youve ever had one of those annoying cold sores on your tongue, youve already experienced an HSV outbreak. For most people, the herpes simplex virus will never present any lasting or major symptoms but for people who become infected with genital herpes, a common STI which causes painful sores and flu-like symptoms, the virus is a serious medical issue which needs to be managed with antiviral medication. Of course, in order for herpes to be managed effectively, it needs to be diagnosed first but just how accurate are our current testing methods? In this article, our Baltimore clinical malpractice attorneys will explain how herpes is diagnosed, which tests are most accurate, and what to do if you or your partner was the victim of a herpes misdiagnosis.
What Are The Similarities Between Impetigo And Herpes
- Impetigo and herpes are two types of skin infections caused by microbial pathogens.
- Both skin infections can cause sores on the skin that ooze out fluids.
- They cause red rashes on the skin.
- Both medical conditions are contagious.
- Infants and children are affected by both medical conditions.
- They are not life threatening.
- Therefore, they are treatable medical conditions.
Herpes 1 And 2 Fact Sheet
What Is Herpes?When a person becomes infected with HSV, the virus enters the skins cells and nerve endings. The HSV infection damages the cells causes blisters and sores to form that can take anywhere from several days to several weeks to heal. Once the sores have healed, HSV travels from the nerve endings at the surface down nerve pathways deeper into the body where it lays dormant or inactive in the spinal column. Later HSV can become active again. When it does it travels up the same nerve pathways to the same surface area of the skin causing another outbreak. This is why outbreaks reoccur in the same spot over and over.HSV tends to reoccur following periods of stress, excessive sun exposure to any part of the body , irregular eating and lifestyle habits such as excessive intake of sugar, coffee, alcohol, hot spicy foods, fired foods, manufactured non-food fats such margarine, cigarette smoking and toxic chemical exposure.Herpes Family Viruses Include:
- At first, tingly itchy and sometimes red irritation typically forms on the skin.
- Both herpes 1 and herpes 2 can infect any surface area of the body.
Who should test for herpes?How Herpes Testing Is DoneHerpes Simplex Virus Culture-Herpes 1 & 2 Antibody Blood Tests –Herpes 1 & 2 Western Blot Test – Herpes TreatmentHerpes Transmission
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How Do You Get Checked For Herpes
There are three ways that you can get checked for herpes:
Blood Test for HSV Antibodies
Blood testing for HSV 1 & 2 antibodies is the most common method of testing for herpes infection. This is because it can detect if youre infected with herpes, even if youre asymptomatic.
A viral culture can be performed with a urine sample or a swab of the suspected infected area. The sample will be used to see if the virus grows in a lab culture. It is a good choice to confirm you have the virus if youre experiencing symptoms, but it is only effective if the virus is active in a sore or lesion.
PCR Herpes Testing
PCR testing looks for HSV DNA from a blood sample or from a lip or genital sore. It can determine the difference between HSV-1 and HSV-2. PCR testing is expensive, but it is fast and efficient.
Healing Herpes With Red Light Therapy
Your treatment options for herpes aren’t limited to hit-or-miss topicals and ineffective home remedies. The Luminance RED is an FDA registered device that uses gentle red light therapy to treat and prevent future cold sore and genital herpes outbreaks. Hold the Luminance RED on areas where you tend to develop lesions for 60 seconds, twice per day. The red light soothes nerve pathways where outbreaks take root. With the Luminance RED, going into hiding for days and caking concealer over cold sores will become troubles of the past.
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Herpes Simplex 1 And : What Are The Differences
Herpes simplex 1 and 2 are actually two different diseases caused by two different viruses.
Although they belong to the same family, these viruses have different characteristics.
When people encounter the word herpes, they usually think of genital herpes.
But there are other types of herpes. In fact, there are 8 known pathogens to humans.
For the purposes of this article, we will tackle just 2âoral herpes and genital herpes.
So how do we differentiate one from another?
Here is a basic guide on how to tell if what you have may be HSV 1 or HSV 2.
Herpes Myths To Stop Freaking Out About
A surprising number of people you know probably have herpes.
Shocked? You shouldnt be, since the virus is very common. According to the World Health Organization, 3.7 billion people under age 50 have herpes simplex virus type 1 thats 67 percent of the global population in that age bracket. Another 417 million people between ages 15 and 49 worldwide have herpes simplex virus type 2 .
Many people consider HSV-1 more benign, but it turns out theres not much difference between the two types of virus. While its true that HSV-2 is a sexually transmitted disease and can cause genital sores or blisters, type 1 can do the same thing.
One big misconception is that cold sores are caused by HSV-1 and genital herpes are always type 2, but thats not always the case, says Sarah Vensel, a physician assistant in San Francisco. Cold sores are so common theyve been normalized at this point. But genital herpes is sometimes the exact same virus just in a different location.
Not only is herpes incredibly common its also totally manageable. Allow us to set your mind at ease and debunk three widespread herpes myths:
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How To Get Rid Of Herpes
There is currently no treatment whichwill cure you of herpes. Once you get herpes, you will have it for life. However, as noted above, this is ahighly manageable condition. There are many treatments for herpes whichreduce the pain and make sure your outbreaks clear up fast so you get on withliving your life.
In the end, theres very little difference between HSV-1 and HSV-2.Theyre both annoying and bothersome illnesses. But, at the same time, theyreboth extremely easy to manage and theres no reason for herpes to hold youback.
How Can I Prevent Genital Herpes
If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting genital herpes:
- Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who does not have herpes.
- Using condoms the right way every time you have sex.
Be aware that not all herpes sores occur in areas that a condom can cover. Also, the skin can release the virus from areas that do not have a visible herpes sore. For these reasons, condoms may not fully protect you from getting herpes.
If your sex partner has/have genital herpes, you can lower your risk of getting it if:
- Your partner takes an anti-herpes medicine every day. This is something your partner should discuss with his or her healthcare provider.
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Is Herpes Curable
No, but it is treatable and its not dangerous. Once infected with HSV, your body will always carry the virus. That said, there are ways in which you can lower your risk of transmitting the virus or having an outbreak.
For starters, barrier methods such as condoms can be somewhat effective in protecting against transmission if used correctly during every sex act. However, if the condom doesnt cover the infected area, there will be no protection from transmission. For that reason, and because sometimes condoms slip or break, condoms on average only reduce the likelihood of transmission by about half.
Reducing ones chances of acquiring herpes by 50% is a worthwhile effort, but dont worry, there are also reinforcements. Antiviral therapy can also reduce the likelihood of HSV-2 transmission by about 50%. By using medication in conjunction with condoms and avoiding sex during an active outbreak, you can significantly lower the chances of passing the virus to a partner.
While herpes can be uncomfortable, it has no other negative health consequences. It cannot lead to infertility and thanks to effective medication, should not complicate childbirth.
How Common Is It
The herpes simplex virus is incredibly common in the United States and worldwide.
As many as 1 in 2 American adults have oral herpes, which is often caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 . Herpes fast facts. .ashasexualhealth.org/stdsstis/herpes/fast-facts-and-faqs/
An estimated 1 in 8 Americans ages 14 to 49 years old have genital herpes from herpes simplex virus type 2 , which causes most cases of genital herpes. Herpes fast facts. .
However, either type of HSV can occur in the genital or oral region. An infection with both HSV types at the same time is also possible.
Although some people carry the virus and never experience any symptoms, others may have frequent outbreaks.
This article will examine why so many people carry the virus, how to prevent transmission, and more.
Most HSV infections are asymptomatic, so many people who carry the virus dont know that they have it.
Whats more, the virus is easily transmitted.
In many cases, all it takes is:
- genital-to-genital contact
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A Blood Test Can Determine If Someone Has Genital Herpes
To find out if you have genital herpes, a doctor can take a sample from a sore and test it in the laboratory. There is also a blood test that looks for antibodies to the virus that your immune system would have made. HSV-2 almost always infects the genitals, so if antibodies to HSV-2 are detected in your blood, you probably have genital herpes.
A blood test that shows antibodies to HSV-1 means you could have genital or oral herpes. That’s because oral herpes, typically caused by HSV-1, can be spread to the genitals during oral sex.
Genital Herpes Cdc Fact Sheet
Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease that any sexually active person can get. Most people with the virus dont have symptoms. Even without signs of the disease, herpes can still be spread to sex partners.
Basic Fact Sheet | Detailed Version
Basic fact sheets are presented in plain language for individuals with general questions about sexually transmitted diseases. The content here can be syndicated .
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Genital Herpes: Frequently Asked Questions
What is genital herpes?
How common is genital herpes?
World Health Organization estimates that in 2012, 19.2 million new cases of HSV-2 infection happened among adults and youth aged 1549 years worldwide, with around 417 million cases already existing. The highest number of cases are found in WHO African Region and the WHO Region of the Americas. The reason the number of existing cases is so high is because there is no cure for herpes. In the region of the Americas there were around 2.2 million new cases of HSV-2 infections among females and 1.3 million among men in 2012, adding to the already around 45.2 million existing cases for females and 25.1 million existing cases for males.
How is genital herpes spread?
How is genital herpes prevented?
Currently there is no cure or vaccines for herpes. Condoms help reduce the chances of infection but do not eliminate it completely, because outbreaks of genital herpes can occur in areas not covered by a condom. Condom use is still advisable as they can prevent other sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancies.
What are the symptoms of genital herpes?
What are the problems of genital herpes?
Repeated symptoms of genital herpes may be painful, and the infection can lead to social stigma and emotional distress. These factors can have an important impact on quality of life and sexual relationships. However, with time, most people with herpes adjust to living with the infection.
How is genital herpes diagnosed?
Is A Blood Test For Genital Herpes Included When I Ask To Be Tested For Everything Why Does Cdc Recommend Testing For Other Stds But Not Herpes
Herpes blood tests may or may not be included. Your doctor chooses STD tests based on your sexual behaviors , as well as how common the infection is in the area that you live in. This is why you should have an open and honest discussion with your doctor about your sex practices and history. When you go in for STD testing, it is important to ask your doctor which infections you are and are not being tested for, and why.
STD tests are usually done for infections that have serious outcomes if they are not treated. For example, finding and treating curable STDs like chlamydia can stop them from causing serious complications like infertility in women. Genital herpes does not usually result in serious outcomes in healthy, non-pregnant adults. More often, the stigma and shame from a genital herpes infection can be more troubling to someone who is infected than the disease itself. If you are worried about genital herpes, you should talk with your doctor about whether you should be tested.
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How Does Genital Herpes Affect Pregnancy
Herpes simplex virus doesnt affect fertility or your ability to conceive. Pregnant women diagnosed with HSV-2 should start a daily antiviral at 36 weeks of pregnancy as prescribed, to prevent outbreaks during delivery. If you have an active infection at the time of childbirth, you can pass the herpes virus to your baby. Neonatal herpes puts a baby at risk for blindness, brain damage, skin infections and death. Your healthcare provider will perform a cesarean section to lower this risk.
Treatment The First Time You Have Genital Herpes
You may be prescribed:
- antiviral medicine to stop the symptoms getting worse you need to start taking this within 5 days of the symptoms appearing
- cream for the pain
If you have had symptoms for more than 5 days before you go to a sexual health clinic, you can still get tested to find out the cause.
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Can You Tell If Someone Has Herpes Bylooking
No, unless they are having an outbreak,it is not possible to tell for sure whether someone has herpes just by looking.Indeed, they themselves may not be aware theyre carrying the virus either,since its often asymptomatic. And of course, unless youre a trained sexualhealth professional, you could easily misdiagnose something entirely different.
While its easiest to catch herpes whensomeone is having an outbreak on their skin, you can still catch it when thereare no visible signs either. So, just looking at a persons face or body wonttell you if they have herpes or not.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hsv
Most commonly, HSV-1 causes sores around the mouth and lipsoften called cold sores or fever blisters. HSV-1 can cause genital herpes, but most cases of genital herpes are caused by HSV-2. Typically, someone with HSV-2 will have sores around the genitals or rectum.
Symptoms are usually the most intense during the first outbreak and become less intense over time. Symptoms can last 2-4 weeks before resolving on their own without medicine, and even longer during the initial infection.
Some of the symptoms associated with HSV include itching, tingling or burning sensation, tiredness, swollen lymph nodes and flu-like symptoms, but many with HSV may have no symptoms at all.
While there are some tell-tale signs of HSV, not everyone may show visible signs or symptoms, resulting in them unknowingly transmitting it to a partner via contact, Dr. Gelow said. Unfortunately, there are no studies that show how often this happens, but we do know that the virus sheds 10-20% of the time in those who are asymptomatic.
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What Happens If I Dont Receive Treatment
Genital herpes can cause painful genital sores and can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems.
If you touch your sores or fluids from the sores, you may transfer herpes to another body part like your eyes. Do not touch the sores or fluids to avoid spreading herpes to another part of your body. If you do touch the sores or fluids, quickly wash your hands thoroughly to help avoid spreading the infection.
If you are pregnant, there can be problems for you and your unborn fetus, or newborn baby. See Im pregnant. How could genital herpes affect my baby? for information about this.
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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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.