When Should You Get Tested
The best time to get tested for herpes varies, depending on whats happening.
If youre exhibiting symptoms of an initial outbreak which include pain, itching and redness of the affected location fatigue, fever and chills and, ultimately, painful sores or ulcers its best to see a healthcare professional about getting tested.
However, if you think youve been exposed to the virus and arent yet exhibiting symptoms, HSV may take some time before being able to show results on a test. While the exact time frame is unknown and varies from person to person, two weeks is usually enough time to yield accurate test results.
Most people become concerned about being infected with the herpes virus after contact with a potentially infected person. Often, simple things like kissing someone with a visible cold sore or facial acne around the lips can cause concern about HSV-1.
For genital herpes, most people become concerned about potentially being infected after sexual contact with a person that shows symptoms of herpes. This can include oral sex with someone that has cold sores, which can potentially spread to the genitals.
Since herpes is asymptomatic in many people, you could be infected with the virus even if you dont have any symptoms.
Treatment If The Blisters Come Back
Go to a GP or sexual health clinic if you have been diagnosed with genital herpes and need treatment for an outbreak.
Antiviral medicine may help shorten an outbreak by 1 or 2 days if you start taking it as soon as symptoms appear.
But outbreaks usually settle by themselves, so you may not need treatment.
Recurrent outbreaks are usually milder than the first episode of genital herpes.
Over time, outbreaks tend to happen less often and be less severe. Some people never have outbreaks.
Some people who have more than 6 outbreaks in a year may benefit from taking antiviral medicine for 6 to 12 months.
If you still have outbreaks of genital herpes during this time, you may be referred to a specialist.
When To Get Tested For Hiv
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.
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Herpes Home Test Vs Herpes Lab Testing
While our herpes test requires a visit to a lab, our testing process is private and no information is shared with your health insurance company or your personal doctor without your consent. That being said, some people would prefer to get a home herpes test . While there are some herpes test kits available on the market, current data suggests that they may not be as accurate as the FDA-approved herpes blood testing labs that we use and are trusted by doctors and medical providers across the country.
In order to prevent exposure to herpes, one must avoid any oral or sexual contact with an infected person. While condoms might help during sexual activity, they are by no means foolproof in preventing transmission of the herpes virus. Once infected, there is no cure for herpes. During periods of active symptoms like blisters, specific antiviral medications can sometimes reduce the duration of the symptoms and intensity of any associated pain.
The CDC estimates that 776,000 people get new herpes infections each year and that 15.7% of people between the ages of 14 and 49 have an HSV-2 infection. For anyone concerned about a herpes exposure or for people in a new relationship, herpes lab testing is a helpful way to determine your status with simple, affordable blood testing.
- A doctor’s lab order*
- A PDF copy of your test results
- Responsive customer service
How Can Herpes Be Tested/checked
Better2Know has three ways of testing for the Herpes virus:
- Blood Test if you have no symptoms
- Urine Test if you currently have symptoms
- Swab Test if you have a blister or other lesion for swabbing to see if it is caused by HSV.
At Better2Know, you can choose your test method: urine or a swab if you have symptoms, and blood if you do not. Results are available within 25 working days from us receiving your sample depending on which sample is taken. The test will tell you whether you have HSV-1, HSV-2, both types or neither.
At selected private sexual health clinics, Better2Know also provides instant Herpes testing. With this exclusive, popular Herpes testing option, you will receive your results from 10 minutes after sample collection.
You can also get a Home Sample Collection Kit by visiting our Home STI Tests page.
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How Can I Prevent Herpes Outbreaks
If you have lots of herpes outbreaks, your doctor may tell you to take medicine every day this is called suppressive therapy. It can help prevent future herpes outbreaks, and lower your chances of giving herpes to your partners.
Whether or not you take medicine to treat herpes, taking care of yourself by eating healthy foods, getting enough sleep, and avoiding stress might help keep future outbreaks from popping up.
No one knows for sure what triggers genital herpes outbreaks. Other infections, surgery, sex, your period, skin irritations, and stress may cause outbreaks. Sunburns, injuries to your lips, or other infections can cause oral herpes flare-ups. Try to avoid getting sunburned if you have oral herpes.
Genital herpes outbreaks usually happen less often and become shorter and weaker after a few years whether or not you get treated.
Where Can I Get Tested For Stds / Stis
Your general practitioner, OBGYN, or urgent care clinic can all order STI / STD tests for you. You can also try a local or campus clinic or your local Planned Parenthood location.
Depending on your income, you may even be able to get tests for free. Search here for your local Planned Parenthood and call to find out if you qualify for free testing.
If youre uncomfortable with those options, or dont want STI tests on your insurance, some states allow you to order tests at home.
Same-day testing today: You can also use this site to order tests online and then stop by a lab near you for same-day testing.
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Is There Anything Else I Should Know
Herpes can make people more susceptible to HIV infection. The skin lesions give other sexually transmitted diseases , including HIV, openings for entering the body. Likewise, it can make HIV-infected individuals more infectious. Infection with HSV can also increase HIV viral load. HSV-2 infection is a significant opportunistic infection in HIV-infected individuals due to immune system deficiencies up to 90% of HIV-infected individuals are co-infected with HSV-2.
Wouldnt Testing Everyone Stop The Spread Of Genital Herpes
We dont know. There is no evidence that diagnosing genital herpes with a blood test in someone without symptoms would change their sexual behavior and stop the virus from spreading. In addition, without knowing the benefits of testing, the risk of shaming and stigmatizing people outweighs the potential benefits. For these reasons, testing everyone for herpes is not recommended at this time.
Are There Any Risks To The Test
There is no known risk to having a swab test.
There is very little risk to having a blood test. You may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.
If you had a lumbar puncture, you may have pain or tenderness in your back where the needle was inserted. You may also get a headache after the procedure.
What Happens If You Dont Get Herpes Treatment
The good news about herpes is that its not deadly or even very dangerous. It might be annoying, but herpes doesnt get worse over time or cause serious health problems like other STDs can.
If you dont get treated for herpes, you might keep having regular outbreaks, or they could only happen rarely. Some people naturally stop getting outbreaks after a while.
There are a few reasons people may decide not to get treatment. They might not have that many outbreaks, or their outbreaks dont really bother them. Or maybe theyre not having sex, so theyre not that worried about having herpes right now. Whatever your situation is, getting treatment for herpes is your choice.
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Where To Get Std Testing For Free With Or Without A Copay
From free clinics to at-home testing, there are plenty of places to get tested if you cant or dont want to head to your physician.
No one wants to hear that they have an STD. But getting tested and knowing is better than letting it worsen.
Talking about sex with a doctor is not fun. Even though doctors are prepared to talk about these things and frequently discuss them with other patients, bringing up your own sex life to your provider can feel awkward or downright embarrassing, especially if the thing you want to talk about is a sexually transmitted disease .
If you suspect you have an STD, though, you should talk to your doc as soon as you can. Dont wait for symptoms to appear, because many STDs dont show signs until months after youve contracted the disease, and some may not show signs at all.
But what if you cant afford to go to a doctor, or dont have access to one that can do a test? There are still plenty of options to get tested, and some of them are free. We rounded up all the different ways you can get checked for STDs without seeing your primary care doctor.
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When Should I Get Tested For Std
Many factors will determine how often you should get tested for STDs. For the most part, these are tied to your sexual activity and any factors that cause an increased risk of contracting an STD. It is recommended that you get tested on an annual basis if any of the following are true:
- You are under 25 years of age and sexually active.
- You are older than 25 and are at a higher risk due to multiple or new partners.
- You have been positively diagnosed with HIV.
- You have tested positive for any other STI.
- You have been forced to engage in any sexual activity that you did not provide consent for.
- You used intravenous drugs.
- You are currently pregnant or are planning to become pregnant.
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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.
Blood And Urine Tests
Most STIs can be tested by using urine or blood samples. Your doctor can order urine or blood tests to check for:
In some cases, urine and blood tests arent as accurate as other forms of testing. It may also take a month or longer after being exposed to certain STIs for blood tests to be reliable.
If HIV is contracted, for example, it can take a couple of weeks to a few months for tests to detect the infection.
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When Should I Get Tested For Stds
If you think you might have an STD, its best to get tested. STDs dont go away if you ignore them theyll just get worse and could grow into more serious health consequences. If left untreated, some STDs can lead to issues like infertility and more serious infections. You can also spread STDs to sexual partners if you have an untreated infection.
Ask your health care provider for STD testing recommendations or follow CDC recommendations for STD testing.
Myth #: Your Sex Life Is Over
While theres no cure, herpes treatment is simple and can shorten or prevent outbreaks, so you can still have a love life.
People have a disproportionate fear of herpes in relation to any other STI, Grimes says. They feel like their sex lives are ruined forever and thats in no way the case.
If you have the virus, your doctor may prescribe a medication like Zovirax or Valtrex to keep on hand in case of a flare-up. And if you experience outbreaks often, your provider may recommend daily dosing. However you treat it, its worth remembering that herpes is a condition to manage it doesnt define you.
If you have to be perfect for your new partner, that partner will be looking a very, very long time to find a match! Grimes says. Everyone has something, and since one in six Americans between 14-49 have HSV-2, odds are very high that your next partner is in the same boat. The main issue is to have productive conversations around these issues.
So theres no reason for all the stigma and secrecy surrounding herpes, since its safe to assume more people have it than you think. And if youre diagnosed with the virus, your provider will help you find a treatment plan thats easy, effective, and fit for your lifestyle.
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Staying Safe While Avoiding Panic And Stigma
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.
How To Avoid Herpes Infection
Condoms cut the risk of getting or passing on herpes if they cover the affected area.
Other types of contraception, such as the contraceptive pill, offer no protection against sexually transmitted infections .
Wash your hands after touching blisters, especially before handling contact lenses because herpes can cause an eye infection.
Avoid things that trigger herpes outbreaks such as a lack of sleep, sunbathing or stress.
Having herpes could make it easier for someone to get or pass on HIV. But if HIV drugs have made your viral load undetectable then you cannot pass on HIV.
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Best Convenient Herpes Test: Mylab Box
People can order at-home herpes tests from MyLAB Box. These kits contain instructions, a specimen bag, and a prepaid return envelope. Users may find this test convenient because of its quick turnaround for results and the option to book a free consultation and get treatment.
|doctor may prescribe treatment if test results are positive|
|Con||only tests for HSV-2|
Once a person receives their collection kit, they can collect their sample using the instructions. They can then use the prepaid envelope to send it to the laboratory.
People should receive their results within 25 days. If the test is positive, they can book a free consultation with a doctor to discuss their results and treatment options. The doctor may then prescribe treatment.
This at-home test only works for people who wish to test for genital herpes. The company does not offer test kits for oral herpes.
The kit costs $89 as a stand-alone test, but the company also markets other kits that test for different infections. For example, if a person also wishes to test for other STIs, they can purchase the Total Box 14 Panel option or the Uber Box 8 Panel option.