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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.
Herpes Blood Tests Very Accurate Can Be Done Even When Symptoms Are Not Present
Many out-of-date doctors will tell you that there are no reliable blood tests for herpes that can accurately distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2. These doctors *used to* be right. And some of the old, inaccurate blood tests are still out there. But medicine has made great strides, and since 1999, there are several NEW IgG blood tests now available that DO very accurately distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2 and are 97-100% ACCURATE, if taken no earlier than 12-16 weeks after your possible exposure to the virus. Please note that despite the relatively high accuracy of these blood tests, false positives and false negatives do occur. If you have conflicting results on 2 different herpes blood tests, you should probably order the Western Blot herpes blood test see below.
Since some doctors and clinics are still using the older, inaccurate blood tests. Always make sure to find out the name of the company and test that your doctor or lab is ordering for herpes blood tests, and make sure it is one of the tests on the good list and not one of the tests on the bad list.
What Are The Risks Associated With Herpes
If you have symptoms for Herpes, the use of condoms might not protect your sexual partner from getting the virus from your infected areas that are not covered by the condom. Therefore, it is advised to abstain from sex if you have symptoms.
Neonatal Herpes can occur in rare cases and might lead to lasting neurologic disability or even death of the infant. Pregnant women who get their first viral infection during late pregnancy are at a higher risk of acquiring the disease than those infected prior to pregnancy.
The symptoms and pains associated with recurrence of Herpes might lead to psychological distress, which could negatively affect the quality of life and sexual relationships of infected individuals.
If Herpes is left untreated, there is an increased risk of getting other sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
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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.
Will I Have To Pay For A Herpes Test Out Of Pocket
Youll have to check with your insurance network to see whether at-home STI tests are covered.
Insurance does typically cover them, but sites like Everlywell recommend verifying the purchase with your insurance.
Additionally, some networks may reimburse you for your purchase.
However, most at-home testing sites arent currently partnered with any insurance companies, which means youll have to reach out yourself.
If you dont have insurance, youll likely have to pay for the test out of pocket. Some sites like Priority STD dont accept insurance, so its a flat rate of $99 regardless of your coverage.
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How Herpes Outbreaks Occur
Once it enters a human cell, the HSV virus penetrates the cells nucleus and begins the process of replication. Even though cells may be infected, you probably will not experience any symptoms at this stage.
During the initial infection, the virus is transported through nerve cells to nerve-branching points, known as ganglia. There, the virus will stay in an inactive, dormant state, neither replicating nor presenting any signs that its even there.
On occasion, the dormant virus may suddenly reactivate, starting the replication process anew. When this happens, the virus will travel back through the nerve to the surface of the skin. With this, many of the infected skin cells are killed, causing blisters to form. The eruption of these blisters creates the characteristic ulcers that are recognized as cold sores or genital herpes.
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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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Hsv 2 Blood Test Results Explained
The HSV 2 blood test is used to determine if there is a type 2 genital herpes infection in specific situations: if someone has genital symptoms that could be related to herpes or if someone has had a sexual partner who has symptomatic herpes at the time. The HSV 2 blood test is also sometimes ordered when performing a complete STD panel. It may also be recommend for individuals who have multiple sexual partners within a short period of time.
The HSV 2 blood test may only need to be given once. Herpes is a virus that creates a chronic, lifelong infection. Once someone tests positive for this virus, then they will always test positive for herpes. Because the virus is not believed to spread unless there is symptomatic genital herpes present during sexual intercourse, however, routine testing is generally considered unnecessary unless the risk factors are in place.
Dependability Of Herpes Test Results
Herpes tests can produce both false negatives and false positives. Some experts estimate that as many as half of positive blood tests may be inaccurate. Antibody tests for herpes sometimes react to related viruses, such as chickenpox or mononucleosis. If you are having an antibody test, you should wait 12 to 16 weeks after exposure so that antibodies can reach detectable levels. Bear this in mind if you are using an at-home test for herpes. Overall, antibody tests are not useful screening tests for genital herpes in the absence of symptoms . They may be useful for people with a history of genital symptoms or who are at high risk for genital herpes, such as people who are HIV-positive.
Viral culture tests need active virus, so if the sore is small or beginning to heal, there may not be enough virus present to be detected and you could get a false negative. A viral culture may only show a positive result in about a third of tests of recurrent herpes outbreaks, meaning not your first outbreak of symptoms. Among herpes tests, you are less likely to get a false negative with the PCR test, and false positives are rare.
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Herpes Is Very Commonand Not Easy To Spread
The CDC estimates that between 2015 and 2016 nearly 50 percent of the population had HSV-1, which is typically associated with cold sores but can cause genital herpes through oral sex, and about 12 percent of the population had HSV-2, which is usually genital herpes. But if youve never had any herpes symptoms, youre highly unlikely to spread the disease since its most likely to spread during an outbreak. And even when people know they have herpes, studies show that the knowledge doesnt necessarily change their behavior. Meaning, if they were going to have unprotected sex anyway, knowing they have herpes wont stop them.
Should You Take A Herpes Test If You Have No Symptoms Of This Sti Heres What Experts Advise
If you think you have genital herpes because you have a sore on or near your genitals, a doctor or nurse can test the sore and diagnose you. But how do you test for herpes if you have no symptoms and are simply worried youve been exposed to the virus? There is a blood test available, but experts disagree about whether its worth the trouble. Here are a few arguments for not bothering with the herpes test.
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.
Why Genital Herpes Comes Back
Genital herpes is caused by a virus called herpes simplex. Once you have the virus, it stays in your body.
It will not spread in your body to cause blisters elsewhere. It stays in a nearby nerve and causes blisters in the same area.
If you can, avoid things that trigger your symptoms.
Triggers can include:
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Should Pregnant Women Use A Herpes Test Kit
For pregnant women, there are additional reasons to fear genital herpes. As an example, the infection can be passed on to the baby. Ultimately, this may lead to miscarriage or premature birth. Prenatal herpes, which can be fatal, is also a possible complication for the fetus. For this reason, using a herpes test kit is crucial for pregnant women.
How Can You Prevent Herpes
There are several strategies to help prevent sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes. The following strategies, of which abstinence is considered the most reliable, are all recommended by the CDC:
- Reduce Number of Sex Partners
- Mutual Monogamy
Preventing the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases to others is also important. Knowing your status is an important step in making sure a sexually transmitted disease is not spread to your loved ones.
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Why Should I Get Tested
Genital herpes does not often show signs or symptoms until you have an outbreak. If you have had unprotected sex with someone who has genital herpes, then you may have caught it too. It is important to get tested so that you do not pass it on to someone else.
It is very important to get tested if you are a pregnant woman and have a partner with genital herpes. This is because your baby could also become infected if you get genital herpes too. Herpes infections in babies can be life-threatening.
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How Does Herpes Simplex Spread
Herpes spreads through close contact with a person who has the infection. The virus can be found in skin and saliva. If you have herpes simplex, you are most likely to pass the virus to another person when you have sores. But you can infect someone else even if you have no symptoms. Healthcare providers call this asymptomatic viral shedding.
People may get HSV-1 through
- Touching a persons skin near the mouth.
- Sharing food utensils, lip balm or razors.
- If you receive oral sex from someone who has a cold sore, it may spread a herpes infection to your genitals.
People may get HSV-2 through
- Oral sex with someone whos infected.
- Touching open sores, including while breastfeeding.
- Childbirth by a mother or gestational parent who has an active infection.
You cant get genital herpes from objects like toilet seats. But you could pass genital herpes through shared sex toys.
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How Do You Get Herpes
Herpes is extremely contagious and is easily spread from infected fluids, like saliva and genital secretions, or skin-to-skin contact with a herpes sore or the affected area.
HSV-1 and HSV-2 can both be spread through:
Even if a sexual partners skin is free of herpes sores, it is still possible to get herpes, this is called viral shedding. Though visible sores may not be present, the virus is still transmittable.3
The CDC states that herpes is not transferred through the use of toilet seats, bedding, towels, or swimming pools.
Most cases of HSV-2 are transmitted through physical contact with someone who already has the disease, but it is recommended to avoid sharing drinks or other inanimate objects that may have recently come into contact with infected saliva or secretions .
Herpes can also be transmitted from mother to infant during childbirth, especially if the mother has active genital sores. Because a newborn with birth-acquired herpes can suffer brain damage, breathing problems, and seizures, its important to test for and treat herpes sores when pregnant.
There is a misconception that when you discover you have herpes, you or your partner has cheated. This is often not the case. It is very difficult to determine how and when herpes was acquired because the virus can lie dormant for years.
How Will My Healthcare Provider Know If I Have Genital Herpes
Your healthcare provider may diagnose genital herpes by simply looking at any sores that are present. Providers can also take a sample from the sore and test it. If sores are not present, a blood test may be used to look for HSV antibodies.
Have an honest and open talk with your healthcare provider about herpes testing and other STDs.
Please note: A herpes blood test can help determine if you have herpes infection. It cannot tell you who gave you the infection or when you got the infection.
How We Protect Your Privacy
The 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act guarantees your right to medical privacy and protects your health information from unsolicited access, fraud and abuse. STDcheck.com abides by this law, which also gives you the right to decide who can access your health information.
STDcheck.com will not solicit you by phone or mail. All communication will be conducted via email from Analyte Health and charges on your debit or credit card statement will appear as ANALYTE HEALTH.
Medically Reviewed by J. Frank Marting JR., MD on Jun 18, 2019.
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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 .
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How Often Should I Test Myself For Herpes
Again, HSV-2 is very common, so regular testing is recommended. We put together a guide that can help to quickly inform you of when to test for HSV-2 and other STIs. Above all, its best to discuss your sexual health with your physician to determine how often you should get tested. Your physician can help you set a schedule for routine screenings. This will give you total control over your sexual health.
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