We use an FDA-cleared type-specific genital herpes test that searches for antibodies to the virus and can differentiate between HSV-1 (oral herpes) and HSV-2 (genital herpes). The test uses a blood sample, so there is no uncomfortable swabbing or undressing.
All laboratory testing, including STD tests, accuracy rates are measured in terms of sensitivity and specificity. Our FDA-cleared herpes type 2 test has a sensitivity rate of 97% and a specificity of 98%.
We use a blood test called the Chemiluminescence immunoassay (CLIA) test, which looks for antibodies to the herpes virus.
No fasting or preparation is necessary for the HSV-2 test.
There is no right time to get tested for genital herpes, since everybody creates antibodies at different rates. Although it is possible to detect herpes-2 as early as 3 weeks after exposure, it is recommended to wait 4-6 weeks after being exposed. If you test negative, it is advisable to test again in three months to confirm the initial test results.
If your results are negative, there are no signs of genital herpes. If positive, genital herpes was found. Although CLIA tests are reliable, "false positives" are possible due to the low occurrence of the HSV-2 virus in some populations.
Test results for herpes fall within a numeric range. If your test returns a value of 0.91 or below you are negative. A value of 1.09 or above is a positive. See additional test results and what they mean at our STD Test Results Sample page.
Genital herpes is not curable but can be treated and managed. Current antiviral medications can prevent symptoms, shorten the duration of outbreaks, and reduce the likelihood of transmitting the genital herpes virus.
According to the CDC, HSV-2 infection is more common among women because the infection is more easily transmitted from men to women. Women who have had recent encounters with someone who is infected with genital herpes (HSV-2) should get tested. Infections can be transmitted through contact with genital or oral secretions, lesions, and mucosal surfaces.
Now is the best time to get the genital herpes test. Know your sexual health status today.
Genital herpes often displays mild symptoms that may go unnoticed or be confused for another skin condition. For the most accurate results, it is recommended to wait 4-6 weeks after exposure to test for genital herpes. A follow-up test after 3 months post-exposure is advisable to confirm earlier test results. Although rare, serious complications of genital herpes include blindness, inflammation of the brain, and aseptic meningitis. If you have had a recent encounter with someone whose STD status you do not know, get tested today.
Also if you have not been tested for other STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, HIV-1, HIV-2, hepatitis A, B and C, or herpes-1 in the last year, our clinicians recommend taking the all-inclusive STD 10-test Panel to ensure that you are completely STD free.
We also offer a chlamydia-gonorrhea test panel. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are known as co-existing infections, meaning that having one infection may put you at risk of having the other.
For answers to your questions about testing for genital herpes, call our Care Advisors at 1-800-456-2323
Medically Reviewed by J. Frank Martin JR., MD on June 18, 2019
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