Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Why Doctors Don’t Test For Herpes

Myth #: You Get Tested For It Every Time You Ask For An Sti Check

Doctor Takes Personality Test | Are They Even Accurate?

In the midst of reporting this piece, I happened to see my OB/GYN. Regarding herpes, he told me, and I quote, We can land a man on the moon but we cant figure out herpes diagnosis.

So, heres the thing: The Center for Disease Control and Prevention doesnt recommend routine herpes testing, which means that unless you specifically ask for it, youre not getting tested for it. This might seem like a massive oversight, but there are a number of good reasons for this.

When you do blood testing for herpes, its very difficult to interpret, says NYC-based gynecologist Alyssa Dweck, MD. It might tell you youve been exposed at one point at your life, but it wont tell you when that happened or who you got it fromso the usual STD screen doesnt test for herpes in the blood unless people ask for it. Even then, a positive result will mean youll be told youve been exposed to herpes, which isnt quite the same thing as being told you have it. Plus, per the CDC, diagnosing someone without symptoms via a blood test has not shown to change their sexual behavior or stop the spread of the virus.

Can I Take An Sti Test On My Period

According to Planned Parenthood, its perfectly OK to get screened for STIs during any day of your menstrual cycle.

Some at-home tests do recommend waiting a few days after your period to test for certain diseases, though, so be sure to check the test instructions if you are using an at-home product.

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 a person contracts HIV, for example, it can take a couple of weeks to a few months for tests to detect the infection.

Recommended Reading: Does Herpes Medicine Stop Outbreaks

Why Cant I Be Tested For All Sexually Transmitted Infections

By Valerie Johnson | May 19, 2020, 3:18 p.m.

Whether or not you have symptoms, knowing your STI status is an important part of being healthy. A question we often hear from patients is why they arent being tested for all STIs when they do get tested. We understand getting tested can be overwhelming and nerve-wracking, especially since you dont get results right away. It may seem irresponsible to not test for everything at once. However, there are valid reasons why certain STIs arent tested upon request and well go through two of those STIs here.

How Do Healthcare Providers Test For Herpes

Heres Why Doctors Dont Usually Test For Herpes

How are you tested for herpes at a clinic or healthcare provider√Ęs office? Healthcare providers will examine the location and severity of any active blisters or sores around the mouth or genital area. They may take a tissue sample of the sores to send to a laboratory for examination. A blood sample will be needed if an antibody test is used to check whether you have been infected with the herpes virus.

Read Also: Herpes Outbreak At Home Remedies

Doctors Don’t Advise Getting A Blood Test For Herpes Without Any Symptoms

Hilda Hutcherson, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, is one of those doctors. “I usually dont do tests for herpes someone has a lesion or a sore, something I can see, I will do a swab and take it to a culture or check the DNA on the materials I removed,” she says. “If theres nothing there and I do a blood test and the blood test comes back positive, lets say its positive for type 1, what does that really mean? Most people are positive for type 1.” She adds that someone could be HSV-1-positive and either have or not have genital herpes. The result “doesnt mean much, and it makes people go crazy.”

Hutcherson’s motto is pretty simple: Why stress yourself over something if you haven’t seen anything especially when it’s something as common as herpes? “Let’s say they have a blood test come in positive but theyve never had a lesion. Now what? You may never get a lesion,” she says. It’s for this reason that she recommends people do not get tested for herpes unless they have a visible lesion that can be cultured and sent to a lab. Let’s say you get tested anyway and it comes back positive, despite the fact that you have no symptoms. What do you do?

How Common Is Herpes

So many people in the world have herpes, and that is enough to make it qualify as a commonplace infection even tho we tend to ignore it a lot.

According to the most recent data provided by the center for disease control, about 48% of people between the ages of 14 to 49 in the United States of America had herpes between 2015 and 2016.

The alarming number of people who have herpes is nothing to be surprised about because a lot of these people may have contacted the virus as children without having any form of sexual Encounter.

This is possible when parents who have HSV-1 plant kisses on their childrens mouths or when kids play with their friends and make innocent body contacts.

Bear in mind that even though HSV-1 usually presents itself as fever blisters or cold sores, it is very possible for someone with HSV-1 to have genital herpes.

You probably have heard that one in every six people have genital herpes even though this is an outdated statistics it is still very alarming.

This one in every six people figure was released according to the national survey by the center of disease control that was carried out from 2005-2008 and finally released in 2010

The data that is considered most recent is the current NHANES data, which is based on a survey from 2015 to 2016, puts the estimate at 1 in every 8 people.

11.9 percent of people living in the US who were between the ages of 14 to 49 at the time were discovered to have HSV-2 according to the center for disease control.

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Life Doesn’t End At Herpes

The abysmal public standing on Herpes testing leaves people like me, who DID get tested and DO know they have it, bearing the grunt of that shaming and stigmatizing the CDC is so concerned about. As a responsible adult, I choose to reveal to my partners that I have herpes while 81% of people with my condition dont — in part because doctors wont test for it without symptoms, even though the virus is asymptomatic the majority of our lives.

When I was diagnosed, I thought my life was over. My sentiments were confirmed a few months later, I met a man I wanted in my life for the long term. My diagnosis scared him away. And at the end of this scary year, when I was diagnosed AGAIN, I had to go through all that pain all over again — or so I thought.

The reality is, herpes is more of a nuisance than a life-ending problem. If you manage it, are open with your partners, you quickly discover that living and dating with herpes is virtually the same as without it. I still have sex, I still date, I still eat cereal in my bed with no pants on. Im still fantastic. The biggest problem with herpes? The medical community’s conflicting methods of testing, and advice for those of us with it, has convinced everyone to think its the biggest problem.

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How Accurate Is The Herpes Test

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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.

Also Check: Can I Join The Military With Herpes

How To Stay Safe While Avoiding Panic And Stigma

No doubt there is always the temptation to freak out a little bit whenever you get to know that herpes is not only a widespread virus, but it is something that you do not routinely or randomly get tested for. So with all of this information, how do you move on without panicking?

The first step you need to take is to practice the same safe sex that you already know would help to prevent you from contacting any other sexually transmitted infections. As a matter of fact, your best bet in this situation is to always use either an external or an internal condom if you have any penetration.

And also, make use of physical Shields like dental dams if youre having oral sex. I must emphasize that this may not fully protect you from herpes, especially because herpes is quickly passed from skin to skin contact with the infected area. It will, however, reduce how much of the affected area you are exposed to.

This simply explains why going to screen for herpes infection when you do not have any symptoms will not yield any fruitful results, because at the end of the screening you get the same advice to practice protected sex.

Right now, with the new law to not screen people for herpes, many young people might not be comfortable. But with time if there are better diagnostic strategies, routine screenings might become achievable. Nonetheless, it is very vital that people know their status so that they can have them self protected and also protect their partners.

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.

Related:

Also Check: Can You Give Blood If You Have Herpes

How Soon Can You Test For Herpes

I know that you may be anxious to get tested following unprotected sex, or the development of symptoms, but it is advised that you wait 6-12 weeks after sexual contact before taking an at-home herpes blood test. This allows enough time for the antibodies of HSV-1 and/or HSV-2 to develop.

If you are sexually active you should get tested for herpes regularly. LetsGetChecked offers a 30% saving on each herpes finger prick test if you subscribe for tests every three months.

If you are currently experiencing the symptoms associated with herpes, you can get tested via a urine or swab test right away to determine if you are infected with the STD. However, this will only prove effective if you are in the active stage of the infection.

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Why Genital Herpes Comes Back

Heres Why Doctors Dont Usually Test for Herpes

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:

  • surgery on your genital area
  • a weakened immune system for example, from having chemotherapy for cancer

Read Also: Can Herpes Virus Cause Nerve Pain

The Response Of Hekma Centers Team:

The team replied to his message, and congratulated him for overcoming herpes virus after taking one supplement package:

Dear Al,

Hope everything is well with you. Thank you very much for your kind and warm words, every single word means a lot for us. We are more than glad to know that you are cured, this is what we always striving to do.

We know that it is hard to believe in a cure for certain disease that it is known worldwide there is no cure for it, and it becomes harder when the surrounding people do not encourage you but fortunately you took the chance, and thank God, you are cured.

Your faith and commitment was an important part of the healing process, congratulations. Thank you so much for the update, and thank you for giving us the permission to publish your testimony. For sure we will not reveal the name, we just keep the first two letters of the name for comparison purpose, and we hide all the rest details.

Can you please send me the test result that shows you are positive for HSV before starting with the treatment ?

Mr. Al did not hesitate to send us his previous medical reports:

We congratulate Mr. Al for overcoming HSV. And thank him for his sincere and genuine words that every patient can relate to. Before and after overcoming the disease.

If You Have Genital Herpes Already Can It Be Spread To Other Parts Of The Body Such As The Arms Or Legs

No. Genital herpes cannot be transmitted to another part of your body such as your arm, leg or hand after the first infection occurs. If you have genital HSV II, you will not get HSV II at another site in your body. The immune system produces antibodies that protect other parts of your body from infection. However, there are cases where a person has multiple site infections from the same virus. This is usually acquired at the time of the first infection. For example, if someone has never had herpes but then has oral and genital sex with an infected partner, they can acquire the infection at both sites.

Also Check: Can Herpes Show Up Years Later

Also Check: How To Tell My Partner I Have Herpes

How Can People Test For Herpes

A person can ask for a herpes test at any sexual health clinic or a doctors office. A healthcare professional will either swab a blister or draw a blood sample.

At-home herpes tests often require a blood sample through a finger prick.

Once a person receives their test results, they should contact a doctor to discuss treatment options, if necessary.

Herpes Blood Tests Are A Complete Waste Of Time And Money They Can Even Destroy Relationships Heres Why:

#SHORTS You Don’t Need a Stress Test, This is Why.

If I had a dollar for the number of couples I have had in my office at breaking point because some other doctor recommended Herpes blood tests as part of a sexual health screen .or worse yet they thought they were smart enough to take themselves off to a lab to do a battery of tests with no counseling.

These poor couples are furious with each other because they have tested positive for Herpes and they want to know who cheated

Well, I dont know that ANYONE cheated.

You see Herpes Simplex is just one of many of the family of Herpes viruses that can stay in your body for years and years, very quietly causing no symptoms. A Herpes virus lives in your nerve roots, Then when you get run down, your immune system cant hold it at bay, so it travels down the particular nerve root its living in, to the skin that the nerve supplies and causes blisters and ulcers. If its your mouth you get oral Herpes and if its your genitals you get genital herpes. Thats why you tend to get cold sores in the same spot.

Now the thing with Herpes Simplex is that You may never have had a symptom when you got it 70% of people dont! so you may have contracted it and never got a blister.so how would you have known when or how you contracted it?

Herpes Simplex doesnt even have to be sexually transmitted. What about Herpes 2 I hear you say? Isnt that the one that causes Genital Herpes? Well lets clear that one up right now:

What a mess!!!

But what if I do get blisters?

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