Currently, the CDC has not included herpes testing in any routine STD panel. They believe that false positives can occur, especially to people of low likelihood of HSV or of no apparent symptoms of the infection. These false positive results can cause adverse psychological effect on some people.
However, based on my experience and from reading stories on various herpes forums, the reason why the herpes virus gets passed around so easily is because people aren't aware of it. This unfortunately makes it easy for them to transmit the infection to their unsuspecting partner/s.
I personally believe that it would benefit more people if herpes testing was included in a routine STD panel. That way, a person can make informed decisions regarding his health and sexual practices. The feelings of guilt and shame can also be avoided when a person unknowingly transfers the virus on to another.
So if you think you have herpes but are unsure, or if you've seen some suspicious looking sores around your partner’s private parts... then it’s about time to get tested! It’s the only way to know for sure whether you (or your partner) may have the herpes virus or not.
Here’s a lowdown on what you need to know before making that important decision.
Disclaimer: I am neither a doctor nor a scientist; the facts presented here are based on my years of research and personal experience with herpes.
As of the newly published fact sheet from the CDC dated February 2013, the US alone has spent about $16 billion total in medical costs for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI).
Now, that’s a lot of money!
It is estimated that almost half of the new HSV cases every year occur within the young people range (ages 15-24). HSV-2 also comes second only to HPV infections in the majority of prevalent STIs in the United States.
The elevated incidence and overall prevalence of HSV implies that Americans are at a high risk of transmitting the infection.
HSV screening is crucial to protect one’s health and prevent the risk of spreading the infection.
Some of the Herpes testing used to diagnose or screen herpes include:
All these types of tests can determine if you've been exposed to the herpes virus, but they will not be able to tell when the exposure occurred. You may be carrying the virus for years and not realize it, or you may have just been recently exposed to the virus from your sexual partner.
Previous or recent exposure, if you do have herpes then you are still contagious and proper precaution should be taken to avoid the risk of transmission.
If you are sexually active, make sure to talk to your healthcare provider about which STI testing may be right for you.
Tell them to include screening for herpes and if possible, a “type-specific” test. That way you can know exactly what type of herpes virus may be in your system. This type of herpes testing can also shed light on how you were infected (either through oral or genital sex).
It only takes about $90 to get a blood test and a little more for the whole STD panel.
If you are currently experiencing your first outbreak and it hasn't been two days, best is to visit your doctor and ask for a viral culture.
If it has been at least 10 days since exposure, then you might want to get a herpes blood test such as the HerpesSelect test.
You can also use a confidential and convenient testing service such as STDcheck. Results are available within 1-2 days after your visit to a testing center.
This is possibly the scariest and most sensitive part, but there are good reasons why you should let your partner get tested as well:
You’re delivery is so important, so let them know that you’re concerned about them.
Stay calm and supportive. If they refuse to get tested, then that says a lot about their character.
But there is a bright side to all of these. In the advent that you and your partner test positive for herpes, then you both can enjoy genital herpes sex without the need for herpes precaution.
Now that you've read all you can about herpes testing, it’s time to take some action. Don’t delay. Herpes testing is relatively cheap and easy. The faster you take action, the quicker you will heal both inside and out.
In a nutshell, herpes is just a skin condition that may present inconveniences from time to time. It is definitely manageable and non life-threatening.
Just look at our Success Stories forum, you will find a lot of people living their lives happy and healthy with herpes. Their stories are a beacon of hope. Herpes is not such a big deal.
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