By choosing the right test for herpes, we can protect ourselves and our partner/s.
Although Herpes is a very common STD (sexually transmitted disease), it is not life threatening.
And with the advent of modern medicine, scientists have been tirelessly researching about new technologies to fight against herpes.
There may be no cure for herpes yet... but we are getting there. For now, we can actively do something about our herpes diagnosis.
Here's the pro's and cons of the different tests that are designed exclusively for herpes so you can pick the right one. There are many tests for herpes and it can get confusing.
This page will explain some of the different tests that you can get.
1. Self Diagnosis by Yourself. This shouldn't even be considered a test but that's what most people try doing. They look at some pictures on the Internet and try to figure out what's going on "downstairs".
Cons: You're not a doctor or a laboratory technician! Ninety percent (90%) of people who have Herpes don't even know they have it. You might mistake it for all kinds of things like pimples, mosquito bites, or a rash. Don't be stupid! Get a real laboratory test, they're cheap and convenient.
2. Visual Diagnosis by Doctor. For this test for herpes, you go to see a doctor who looks at your symptoms then gives his/her diagnosis on whether it is herpes or not.
Pros: Fast. Your doctor could be quite experienced with identifying this disease. Sometimes it is OBVIOUS that you have herpes.
Cons: Well, your symptoms might not be obvious or you might not be having an outbreak. Or they could be hard to see. Studies show that 20% of visual diagnoses by doctors are just wrong. In 2002 the U.S Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that ALL Herpes diagnoses be supported by a lab test. Also you just might not want your FAMILY DOCTOR to know all about your sexual history.
3. Herpes Viral Cultures. In this test, the doctor will scrape some cells from the blisters of your herpes outbreak. The test will be sent to a lab where animal cells will be combined together with your cells to see if the virus replicates, which equals a positive diagnosis.
Pros: Can be done immediately. This test can be done within the first twelve weeks of contracting the virus. Herpes blood tests can only be done after twelve weeks of exposure.
Cons: Could be painful. Can only be done if you have symptoms. And more importantly, not always accurate. Seventy-five percent (75%) of viral culture negatives actually turned out to be positive. This test also can't tell the difference between HSV-1 and HSV-2.
4. Herpes PCR Test. This is similar to a viral culture herpes test. Again, cells are taken from your outbreak and analyzed in a laboratory. This test for herpes is much more extensive and therefore accurate. You can get this test done at your doctors or at an STD clinic.
Pros: THIS IS THE TEST YOU SHOULD USE IN THE FIRST 12 WEEKS OF CONTRACTING THE VIRUS. This is an accurate test. If it tests positive, you have Herpes.
Cons: Can have difficulties telling the difference between HSV-1 and HSV-2. Negative diagnoses are not always accurate, and may need to be followed up by a blood test for herpes.
5. Blood Antibody Test (Herpes Blood Tests). For this test, some blood is removed from you, and sent to a lab. There are a couple of different herpes blood tests. Your blood is tested for the presence of antibodies for the herpes virus. If they find them, you're positive, if they don't, then you're negative. You can get these tests done at your doctors or through a confidential testing service like STDcheck.
Pros: THIS IS THE MOST ACCURATE TYPE OF TEST FOR HERPES (99% ACCURATE). It will also tell you whether you have HSV-1 (oral herpes) or HSV-2 (genital herpes). These tests are done quickly and are affordable and convenient.
Cons: FOR BEST ACCURACY WAIT 12 WEEKS AFTER EXPOSURE. Tests up to 6 weeks after contracting the virus are only 70% accurate. But if you wait 12-16 weeks until the antibodies are developed, these tests are 99% accurate in diagnosing Herpes.