Herpes diagnostics is a very important topic. Many people with herpes do not even know they have it. Here you will learn more about the different herpes tests available and also find answers to your questions and concerns. You will also find possile questions you might want to discuss with your GP or Gyneocologist.
The present testing for herpes is based on antibody testing as with either the IgM/IgG Elisa Test or the Western Blot Test. Both these merely signifies that the virus once existed within the body. They do not tell us anything about the likelihood of transmission or whether the virus has been eliminated from the body. They can not determine a cure.
The good news: A new test is now available, based on viral DNA and not the presence of antibodies and is able to determine if a person is cured of this disease.
By clicking the test below will "jump" you strait to the related test.
Available Tests for Herpes
- Herpes viral culture.
- Herpes virus antigen detection test.
- Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
- Elisa IgM/IgG antibody tests.
If you think that you might have herpes, you should see your doctor right away and talk to them about it. It is even better if you can go while you actually have an outbreak but even if you do not, you can still visit your doctor right away and talk to them about your symptoms and why you think you may have the virus. The doctor will then be able to tell you about possible tests to detect the virus in your body as well as other options for you if you do have the virus.
Herpes testing is done to determine where it is in fact, the herpes simplex virus that is causing sores that may appear in the mouth or genital area. Usually the tests are performed because the person has an outbreak of sores and comes in to find out what is causing it.
Herpes viral culture.
Cells or fluid from a fresh sore are collected with a cotton swab and placed in a culture container. A viral culture is typically considered the most specific method of diagnosing a genital herpes infection.
In this test, cells from a fresh sore are scraped off and then smeared onto a microscope slide. This test detects markers (called antigens) on the surface of cells infected with the herpes virus. This test may be done in addition to or in place of a viral culture.
PCR testing can be done on cells or fluid from a sore or on blood or on other fluid (such as the person's spinal fluid). PCR detects the genetic material (DNA) of the HSV virus. This test can distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2. The PCR test is not commonly done on the skin lesions themselves but it is best for testing spinal fluid, for rare cases in which herpes may be causing infection in or around the brain.
Blood tests can detect antibodies that are made by the immune system to fight a herpes infection. Antibody tests are occasionally done but are not as accurate as a viral culture at identifying the cause of a specific sore or ulcer. Antibody tests cannot distinguish between a current, active herpes infection and a past infection. Because antibodies take time to develop after the initial infection, a positive antibody test may not be present if you have recently been infected. Some blood tests can diagnose the difference between HSV-1 and HSV-2.