What Tests Are Available For Genital Herpes
Common methods for testing genital herpes include swabs, blood testing, and visual examination by a healthcare provider.
The most common testing method in Canada is swabbing the lesionâs surface and sending it to a lab for testing. This cell culture test can determine whether HSV-1 or HSV-2 caused the genital herpes infection.
Swab testing is most likely to detect HSV when completed within 72 hours of symptoms first appearing.
Getting regular STI tests is a critical way to prevent infection or reinfection of sexual partners. â
How Accurate Is The Herpes Test
Taking a swab of a lesion is the most accurate way to test for herpes. If you receive a positive result from a sore, you can be certain that you have herpes. A swab can also tell you whether you have HSV-1 or HSV-2. Unfortunately, a swab can also give you a false negative. Youre especially likely to get a false negative if the lesion has been present for more than 48 hours, as it will begin to heal after that time. False negatives from viral cultures are more likely with each subsequent outbreak.
A PCR test is more accurate than a swab test and is a good option both for those who do have current sores and those who do not.
Blood tests do not look for an active herpes outbreak. Rather, they check the blood for antibodies. There are two types of antibodies that may be present: 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.
IgM tests can yield a false negative if youve recently become infected with herpes, as you might not have these antibodies yet. Over time, IgM antibodies will go away, so you can get a false negative between outbreaks as well. Some IgM tests also cross-react with similar viruses that cause chickenpox or mono, so you may also get a false positive.
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How Do Std Test Kits Work
Using an STD test kit is simple and usually requires no referrals or prescriptions from your doctor. The process may vary slightly from one company to the next, but one commonality is that they are delivered straight to your door and can be taken from the comfort of your home, eliminating the need to visit a doctor or clinic in person. Heres a general breakdown of what you can expect:
Receiving your kit:
After you order your kit, it will be shipped to you in a discreet package and will include all the instructions, forms, and return information youll need. Most kits will include a barcode that you enter into the site which logs you into your own portal. This is typically where youll receive your results and communicate with staff.
Collecting a sample:
Collecting your sample can be done in minutes, though the squeamish may want some company for assistance or support. The sample needed depends on the test, but the 3 most common sample types are urine, vaginal swab, and finger-prick. The kit will include complete instructions as well as all the materials necessary for collecting and shipping the sample.
Submitting for results:
After youve collected your sample, you need to send it to the lab to be tested. The time it takes to receive your results varies but generally spans 3 days to 2 weeks depending on the company.
Results are typically delivered via a private online portal.
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What Should I Do If My Test Results Are Positive
Many at-home services have independent physicians or nurses reach out to people with positive test results. Theyll discuss your results with you and suggest a plan of action, possibly including medication.
If your results are positive, its important to let any recent sexual partners know so they can also get tested.
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 Are The Symptoms And Signs Of Herpes
Oral and genital Herpes infections often have no symptoms or mild symptoms that can either go unnoticed or be mistaken for other types of bacterial or fungal infections, in both men and women. Occasionally, the virus may be present with no visible signs and can still be passed on, by a process called ‘asymptomatic viral shedding’.
Did you know?
1 in 3 people with Herpes will have symptoms, whilst 2 in 3 will only have mild symptoms or none at all.
How Do People Get Genital Herpes
Infections are transmitted through contact with HSV in herpes lesions, mucosal surfaces, genital secretions, or oral secretions. 5 HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be shed from normal-appearing oral or genital mucosa or skin. 7,8 Generally, a person can only get HSV-2 infection during genital contact with someone who has a genital HSV-2 infection. However, receiving oral sex from a person with an oral HSV-1 infection can result in getting a genital HSV-1 infection. 4 Transmission commonly occurs from contact with an infected partner who does not have visible lesions and who may not know that he or she is infected. 7 In persons with asymptomatic HSV-2 infections, genital HSV shedding occurs on 10.2% of days, compared to 20.1% of days among those with symptomatic infections. 8
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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.
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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The Different Types Of Herpes
Herpes, or the herpes simplex virus, is a highly contagious and common virus that causes cold sores and genital herpes. You may become infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 or herpes simplex virus type 2 . Each type of virus causes unique symptoms, so its important to understand their differences.
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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Can Herpes Be Treated
If your symptoms are already cleared, you may not need any medication. You will however need to learn more about how to manage your condition if an outbreak happens in the future.
There are several antiviral medications you can take to manage or prevent outbreaks. Antiviral medication can shorten outbreaks by several days. Some can also suppress the virus, reducing the risk of spread to partners.
Treatment options for herpes are:
You can also apply a pain relief or numbing cream to the affected area. Local anaesthetic creams like Lidocaine can be used for such relief.
Other ways to manage herpes outbreaks are to:
- apply petroleum jelly as a barrier to skin contact
- apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel to help numb and soothe painful sores
- take a cool shower to soothe pain and irritation
- avoid frequent washing and drying of the affected area
- wear loose fitting clothes
- take mild over the counter pain relievers if needed
- drink plenty of water for better skin health
When talking to your doctor, you will be asked to tell any previous partners so they can get tested. Your doctor or nurse may help you tell them anonymously if you prefer.
How Is Genital Herpes Spread
Genital herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus . There are two types: HSV-1 and HSV-2. Most genital herpes infections are caused by HSV-2. HSV-1 is the usual cause of what most people call âfever blistersâ in and around the mouth and can be transmitted from person to person through kissing. Less often, HSV-1 can cause genital herpes infections through oral sexual contact. The genital sores caused by either virus look the same.
- Genital herpes is spread by direct contact with an infected person. Sexual intercourse and oral sex are the most common methods of spreading genital herpes. Any type of skin-to-skin contact, however, is capable of spreading herpes.
- Although anyone can spread the disease, transmission from an infected male to a female partner is more common than spread from an infected female to a male partner.
Note: People with herpes may spread the disease even if they do not realize they have an infection. Furthermore, people with herpes can transmit the infection to others even while their disease appears to be inactive and no sores can be visibly seen.
- Many people remember having an episode of genital herpes when it occurs. Many of those infected fail to recognize the symptoms or have no symptoms at all. It is not clear whether these people never had an initial herpes outbreak or whether they never noticed a mild infection. In these individuals, genital herpes is still contagious, and they may have additional outbreaks, nonetheless.
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Is There A Cure For Genital Herpes
Treatment of genital herpes does not cure the disease. The virus usually lives in an infected person throughout their lifetime. Most people with genital herpes will have recurring outbreaks sometimes 6 to 10 a year. Recurrences are likely to have less severe symptoms and sores usually last a shorter period of time.
Local Planned Parenthood Health Center
Planned Parenthood health centers also offer STI testing. They receive government reimbursements and grants from public programs, such as Medicaid and Title X, which means people can get STI testing and treatment for free or at a very low cost, depending on their income, demographics, and eligibility.
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Sti Testing: What You Need To Know
If youre sexually active, youve probably heard this many times before- you should be using protection and getting regularly tested for STIs. But what exactly is an STI? And more importantly, why get tested for it?
STIs are sexually transmitted diseases, more commonly referred to as sexually transmitted infections youre able to contract the infection without showing any symptoms. There are several kinds of STIs, each with different characteristics and potential symptoms, but theyve all got one thing in commonengaging in unprotected sexual relations transmits them.
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Comparing And Contrasting Laboratory And At
There are significant differences between genital and oral herpes tests conducted at-home and those ordered by a doctor.
Several important tests used to diagnose genital and oral herpes are not available as at-home tests. Herpes viral cultures and polymerase chain reaction testing, both of which are only conducted in-lab, are the preferred tests for patients during a genital or oral herpes outbreak.
Although in-lab testing is more appropriate for most patients, it can be inconvenient and may cost more than at-home testing.
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How Is Genital Herpes Treated During Pregnancy
- Oral antiviral medications may be used during pregnancy.
- One serious concern with genital herpes in pregnancy is the transmission of the infection to the baby during delivery. In an infant, a genital herpes infection can spread through the bloodstream and have serious consequences.
- Cesarean delivery is performed for women who go into labor while there is an active outbreak of genital herpes in order to prevent infection of the baby during birth.
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that pregnant women with recurrent genital herpes be offered oral antiviral medication at or beyond 36 weeks until delivery in order to increase the chances of being able to deliver vaginally.
Treatment Of Genital Herpes
Genital herpes will clear by itself however, seeking treatment early can significantly reduce the time the outbreak lasts and can help the healing process. It also reduces the risk of you passing it on to someone else.
You will be given antivirals which work by preventing the virus from multiplying but it does not clear the virus from your body completely.
Treatment is usually started within five days of the start of the first outbreak. Treatment involves taking antiviral tablets daily for five days. There are various types of antivirals that may be prescribed, common ones include aciclovir, famciclovir and valaciclovir.
Antibiotics will not work because genital herpes is a virus not a bacteria. The treatment you buy for oral cold sores will not work either.
Some people find that another course of antivirals helps with further outbreaks. For people who have multiple outbreaks , they may be given longer courses of medication. This is known as suppressive treatment. This means taking antiviral medication for a longer time period.
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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 Common Is Genital Herpes
Results of a nationally representative study show that genital herpes infection is common in the United States. Nationwide, at least 45 million people ages 12 and older or one out of five adolescents and adults have genital herpes. Over the past decade, the percentage of Americans with HSV-1 has decreased, however that also means people are more susceptible to contracting genitals herpes from HSV-1.
Genital HSV-2 infection is more common in women than in men . This is because male-to-female transmission is more likely than female-to-male transmission.
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Why Is Sexual Health Important
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control reported that about 24 thousand women become infertile each year due to STDs. Typically, contracting an STD isnt enough to cause infertility or other reproductive health issues. Its when a sexually transmitted disease isnt treated that the risk of reproductive damage becomes a problem. This points to just how important it is to get tested regularly, especially when you have a new sexual partner or have multiple sexual partners. Early detection is the best way to prevent an STD from impacting your future health.