Herpes Testing


The herpes virus causes a variation of common infections.  Infections commonly associated with the herpes virus are the oral and genital strains, or Herpes Simplex Type 1 and Herpes Simplex Type 2 respectively.  Another common infection caused by member of the herpes virus is Shingles, also know as Herpes Zoster.  Additionally Chicken Pox, also known as Varicella, is also a herpes family member.

 

Herpes infections are diagnosed in several ways:

1- The most common method utilized by physicians is a herpes culture, which is taken from a scrapping from an open sore. This scrapping is them sent to a laboratory for analysis.  The time from scrapping to diagnosis usually takes 5 days.  This method sometimes sometimes results in something that is called a "false negative" result.  This is a situation when there is actually a real herpes infection, but the test fails to identify it. This situation can be misleading to the person that receives this negative report, only to have another outbreak in the same location at a later time. When similar outbreak occurs in the exact same location you can be more assured that there is a herpes virus causing this infection, and this outbreak  makes someone contagious. 

2-The second method for determining a herpes infection are more expensive
 blood test. These include Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) IgG ( immunoglobin) and IgM (immunoglobin) serology( blood) tests.  These test check for certain levels of antibodies in the blood.  The specific tests involve checking titer (amounts)  levels of each immunoglobin, with each being representative of either an old infection or a relatively new infection.  These blood tests are expensive and aren't exact and may give misleading results.  

Currently several several companies are working on testing kits which will enable someone to obtain  same day results at a fraction of the current costs.  These tests will be done in the office, most likely with blood from a finger-stick. 

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