Need to Get an Accurate Genital Herpes Test?

Follow these simple guidelines for an accurate genital herpes test.

Lots of doctors can screw up your genital herpes diagnosis. In my herpes support group, I have heard HORROR STORIES about people getting misdiagnosed by doctors.

Nothing against doctors, but many of them, are plain misinformed about testing for genital herpes and genital herpes in general.

I mean, c'mon, like 70% of people with genital herpes don't even know they have it. Are doctors missing the genital herpes diagnosis or what?

Remember... you CAN get HSV-1 in your genital area if someone has been doing oral sex on you with a cold sore. This is not uncommon. So a good blood test will tell you if you have HSV-1 or HSV-2 in your genital area.

So below are some simple guidelines for getting accurate genital herpes testing.

How to Get an Accurate Genital Herpes Test

Viral Culture Genital Herpes

1.  Get informed. Read through this website. It will help you get more informed. You can also visit these two websites which have great information on testing for genital herpes:

2. Choose to Get a HerpesSelect Test. There are different types of blood tests for herpes but the most accurate is the HerpesSelect test. Lots of experts at the support group I go to recommend that you only take this test for genital herpes.

Why? Well it is 98%-100% accurate at diagnosing genital herpes, especially what type you have. Yes, you could have either HSV-1 (uncommon) or HSV-2 (common) in the genital area.

The tricky thing is... you must wait 12 weeks after suspected infection to get an accurate HerpeSelect test or any other blood test.

3.  Get a viral culture done during your primary outbreak. So if it's only been a few weeks since your primary infection, what do you do? You will have to get a viral culture. In this type of genital herpes testing, you will have to visit the doctor during your outbreak. In other words, you have genital herpes blisters or sores.

The doctor will take a culture with a cotton swab from your sores. He will send that to a lab. At the lab, they will examine the skin cells for the herpes virus. Then they will give you a positive or negative genital herpes diagnosis. 

The problem with viral cultures is that they are only 50%-70% accurate. This was the test I had done like 20 years ago.

4.  The Optimum Strategy. I think the best steps to take for an accurate genital herpes test are these:

  • Within 12 weeks of infection, or first sign of outbreak, get a viral culture.
  • Then after 12 weeks of the first outbreak, go for a herpes blood test.

With this strategy, you can get an answer right away, then a definitive answer later with a herpes blood test test.

5.   Above all remember this: do not rely on just a visual inspection from your doctor! Like I said, genital herpes can be confused with many other conditions, so if you think you have symptoms of herpes, demand a blood test! That way you will know for sure.

The Cost and Where to Get tested for Genital Herpes

There are many places to get your genital herpes testing done:

  • Private doctor's office
  • STD clinic
  • Dermatologist or Gynecologist
  • Online: If you need fast, confidential, same day herpes testing, check out They have over 4,000 testing centers nationwide so you don't need to travel far to know your sexual health status.
  • Online: Another option is to visit for testing locations for the HerpeSelect test. I also have some other online labs listed on my blood test for herpes page.

The cost of the tests can really vary. Online, I have seen the HerpesSelect test as low as $109 (check the links above). Doctors and clinics can charge $200-$500 for the HerpesSelect test or viral cultures. It really varies. You'll have to choose the location based on what you feel comfortable with.

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