Accuracy By Test Type
Two blood tests are used to screen for herpes. To ensure that an initial positive result is correct, a second test using a different method of detection is used to confirm the results.
The first test is the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay . An ELISA looks for immune proteins, called antibodies, that are produced by the immune system in response to the HSV. HSV antibodies are present even when there are no symptoms.
If the ELISA result is positive, your healthcare provider may administer a Western blot assay. This second test looks for proteins on the surface of the virus, called antigens, which serve as the virus’ “ID tag.” HSV antibodies produced in response to these antigens help the immune system target its attack.
According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the accuracy of the two blood used to diagnose herpes breaks down as follows:
|Over 99%||Over 99%|
Due to its high level of sensitivity and specificity, the Western blot is considered the gold standard of herpes blood testing.
With that said, the accuracy of the tests can be affected by the timing of the tests. For an ELISA to return an accurate result, the immune system needs to produce enough antibodies to reach detectable levels.
Testing too early during the so-called window period can end up causing a false-negative result .
Can I Still Have Sex If I Have Herpes
If you have herpes, you should talk to your sex partner and let him or her know that you do and the risk involved. Using condoms may help lower this risk but it will not get rid of the risk completely. Having sores or other symptoms of herpes can increase your risk of spreading the disease. Even if you do not have any symptoms, you can still infect your sex partners.
You may have concerns about how genital herpes will impact your overall health, sex life, and relationships. It is best for you to talk to a health care provider about those concerns, but it also is important to recognize that while herpes is not curable, it can be managed with medication. Daily suppressive therapy for herpes can also lower your risk of spreading genital herpes to your sex partner. Be sure to discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider. Since a genital herpes diagnosis may affect how you will feel about current or future sexual relationships, it is important to understand how to talk to sexual partners about STDsexternal icon.
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.
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Are There Other Types Of Herpes Viruses Besides Hsv
Yes. There are over 25 viruses in the herpes family and at least 8 types that infect humans. These include herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 discussed in this article as well as varicella zoster virus , associated with chickenpox and shingles, Epstein Barr virus , which can cause infectious mononucleosis, cytomegalovirus , human herpes virus 6 and human herpes virus 7 , both associated with roseola in young children, and human herpes virus 8 , which has been found in tumors in people with Kaposi’s sarcoma . KS primarily affects people with weakened immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS and organ transplant recipients.
Reliability And Choosing A Home Test
People who are considering buying a home test may wish to seek advice from a pharmacist on which test is likely to be best for them. The pharmacist may also be able to show them how to collect the sample at home to prevent inaccuracies.
People who are looking for an at-home herpes test should consider the following before making a purchase:
- Clear information: The company should offer all the information that a person needs for testing, including clear and complete instructions.
- Consultations: Some companies offer consultations for people who wish to discuss their sexual health concerns, particularly if they receive a positive result.
- Treatment plan: Online providers may suggest further testing or treatment depending on the individuals results and concerns.
- Certified laboratories: Some companies work with laboratories with
Anyone who has sexual contact with someone who has received a herpes diagnosis should contact a doctor as soon as possible.
People who have received a positive test result may also wish to consider seeking medical advice.
Currently, herpes is not curable, but doctors can prescribe medications to reduce the frequency and severity of the symptoms. This may help lower the chance of the infection spreading to other individuals.
Below are some common questions about at-home herpes tests.
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- Herpes Simplex Virus Culture
- Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1- and Type 2-Specific Antibodies
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What Happens During A Herpes Test
If you have blisters or sores, your doctor or nurse will gently take a sample of fluid from the sores with a swab and test it.
If you dont have any sores, talk with your doctor or nurse about whether a blood test for herpes makes sense for you. But herpes tests aren’t normally recommended unless you do have symptoms.
The idea of getting tested may seem scary, but try to chill out. STD testing is a regular part of being a responsible adult and taking care of your health. And herpes tests are quick and usually painless.
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Are Test Results Accurate
Tests that identify evidence of HSV infections are routine and commonly used medical tests. The ability of a test to accurately diagnose or rule out HSV infection depends on the test used for analysis and the stage of a patients infection.
The Tzanck smear and viral culture are less able to accurately identify patients who have an HSV infection than other tests. PCR testing and antibody testing are more sensitive, which means that they miss fewer cases of infection.
Blood tests that detect antibodies to HSV can distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2 but not the site of infection. This means that blood tests cannot tell whether a patient has a genital or oral herpes infection.
Although these tests are valuable for identifying HSV infection, no test is perfect. When learning of test results, patients should talk to their doctor about the type of test conducted, the reliability of test results, and if additional tests are necessary to confirm or rule out a diagnosis.
How Does The At
At-home herpes tests take advantage of the fact that blood tests for herpes are widely available through commercial lab-testing sites. The vast majority of at-home herpes tests use the same tests that would be ordered at the doctors office, provided by the same laboratories. However, instead of going to a doctor, the tests are ordered online. This can be a good option for people who are uncomfortable discussing sexual behavior with their doctor or whose doctor is not willing to test for herpes.
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Taking A Genital Or Oral Herpes Test
Testing for genital and oral herpes may be performed with a blood sample or a sample of fluid swabbed or scraped from a sore. Both types of samples are collected by a health professional when conducted at a doctors offices, clinic, or community organization.
If a patient is experiencing an outbreak, a doctor can collect a sample for testing by swabbing or scraping a sore. Material from the sore can be used for a herpes viral culture, PCR testing,
A Tzanck smear or an antibody test.
If a patient is not currently experiencing an outbreak, a blood test may be used to identify HSV antibodies. If a doctor suspects a brain infection with HSV, a lumbar puncture may be performed to obtain a sample of cerebrospinal fluid for analysis.
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What Is The Most Accurate Test For Herpes
Taking a swab of a lesion or sore is the one of most accurate way to test for herpes, but it does have its drawbacks. A positive swab test means that you definitely have herpes, as well as which type of herpes you have, however, the problem is that a swab test can produce a false negative, if the test is taken outside of the window in which the sore is most contagious .
A blood test test is another accurate test for herpes. It is more accurate than a swab test and can be used even if you are not displaying symptoms.
Other blood tests on the market test the blood for antibodies that are produced in reaction to the virus.
The two antibodies that are tested for include IgM and IgG. IgG antibodies appear shortly after you become infected with herpes and stay in the body for life. IgG testing is more accurate than IgM testing.
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How We Test For Oral & Genital Herpes
Our herpes simplex virus type 1 and 2 type-specific antibody testing looks at the blood for antibodies to bothtypes of the herpes virus through the use of an immunoassay. If enough antibodies are detected, then the tester ispositive for the corresponding virus. Even without signs of an outbreak, our FDA-cleared herpes type 1 & 2 testingwill be 97%-99% accurate between 4-6 weeks post exposure. It will remain 99% accurate after 6 weeks.
Its important to understand that while HSV-2 is often referred to as genital herpes, and HSV-1 is commonly known asoral herpes, both can be located on either region of the body. A positive result for HSV-1 does not always mean aperson has oral herpes, nor does a positive result for HSV-2 mean someone has genital herpes.
Finding a lab is as simple as entering your zip code and selecting thelab that is most convenient for you. You pay online and can get tested as early as that same day.
Herpes I & II
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Keep Calm Get Tested Seek Support
Always remember, that no matter what type it is or when you got it, having Herpes will turn out to be a minor occasional annoyance. The emotional hardship and stigma associated with Herpes is solely based on it being located on the genitals which is still an unspeakable area of the body to some people. Its just a virus, and cannot define who you are as a person.
Get tested for peace of mind and to determine what course of action to take next. For fast, confidential testing, try our affiliate:
For additional support, please check out the Local and Online Support page, and for tips on how to keep your Herpes journey as outbreak-free as possible, see our Health Tips& Living with Herpes pages.
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Why Are There State
Syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia are notifiable diseases in the United States, but herpes is not. A disease is notifiable if healthcare providers in all 50 states are required by law to report the diagnosis to their state or local health departments. CDC is also notified, and publishes state-by-state data for these infections. Because herpes infections are not notifiable infections by law, CDC is not able to provide state-by-state data. Public health surveillance for herpes infections is mainly done through population-based, national surveys, such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey .
Reducing The Risk Of Genital Herpes
The herpes virus cant pass through a condom. However, if the virus is present and active on the skin in areas around the genitals not covered by the condom , infection may still occur. Therefore condoms are not 100% protective against the herpes virus.
If your partner has herpes, avoiding sex when they have visible sores reduces your risk of getting herpes.
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Get The Facts About Men And Stds
At any given time there are about 50 million men living with an STD in the United States, many of who are unaware of their condition due to the absence of signs and symptoms. This makes the STD testing process particularly tricky for men, as they often do not know they are infected and need to be treated. If a male does show signs and symptoms of an STD, then the type of test needed to cure the STD is dependent on the type of infection being tested for. The main three testing methods are urine sample, body fluid sample, and/or blood sample. The turn around time for results depends on the infection being tested for.
Some of the most severe STDs do not show any signs or symptoms, yet put a person at risk of severe illness and spreading their infection. Whether you are experiencing symptoms or not, if you are a sexually active male with multiple sex partners or if you are unsure about your sexual health, it is always a good idea to get routine STD screenings every 3 to 6 months.
Can Genital Herpes Cause Recurrent Utis
Whats worse than a painful, burning urinary tract infection? Theres no doubt that suffering from recurring urinary tract infections is one thing!
Not only can the symptoms of a urinary tract infection interfere with your daily life, they can also create a stigma and cause ongoing anxiety that makes it difficult to function. In fact, some people with severe chronic UTIs dont even feel comfortable leaving the house.
One question that arises, though, is what causes recurring UTIs? Can they be related to sexually transmitted infections, such as genital herpes? Or is this a completely separate issue?
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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
|Test type||Ideal time|
|Swab||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|
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Urine Tests Vs Swab Tests
Urine tests can be used to identify bacterial sexually transmitted infections.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea urine tests are widely available. Trichomoniasis urine tests are also available, but they are less common.
It is important to note that the most accurate way of under-going STD testing is via bacterial culture. Bacterial cultures may be taken from using a swab sample. That involved attempting to grow bacteria out of samples that were taken directly from the cervix or urethra.
Bacterial DNA testing looks for the DNA of the bacteria as opposed to looking for the culture. Urine testing very simple and completely safe. You simply collect your urine sample in a sample jar and either hand it to your healthcare provider or mail it to the laboratory.
Samples are tested in the laboratory to identify whether it contains bacterial DNA.
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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.