It is common for people not to realize that they have herpes, often because symptoms do not present themselves at first. Genital herpes often does not have symptoms and when symptoms do occur, they can easily be mistaken for something else. It is important to receive the proper herpes test to make sure. Sometimes, when the testing is not done carefully, you may falsely test positive for herpes or falsely test negative.
Get tested for herpes if you believe you might be at risk. If you have sores on your genitals, you will definitely want to get tested.
There are several different tests used for diagnosing genital herpes.
The PCR blood test is the most common test used. It can confirm genital herpes even without symptoms. This test will check for pieces of the virus’ DNA in the blood.
Another test is a cell culture. This is when a sample of cells is taken from a sore and is checked for the herpes simplex virus.
Both PCR blood tests and cell cultures may give a false-negative if the sores have started to heal or if you have only recently been infected. This is why you may need to be tested again for confirmation.
There is also an antibody test, or, more specifically, a direct fluorescent antibody test. In this, a solution containing HSV (herpes simplex virus) antibodies and a fluorescent dye gets added to a sample of cells taken from the patient. If the herpes virus is present in the sample, the antibodies will stick to it and glow under a specialized microscope.
The antibody test is capable of telling the difference between type 1 HSV (HSV-1) and type 2 HSV (HSV-2).
The downside of an antibody test is that it only tests whether the patient has been exposed to or ever had the herpes virus. Antibody tests cannot determine any specific outbreak.
There are also other tests that can detect HSV in tears, saliva, and urine.
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