Herpes Testing

Reviewed by Ruthann Cunningham, MD., July 7, 2017

What should I know about the herpes test?

The test for herpes type 2 is a blood test. The test is called the herpes IgG test. Herpes type 2 is a lifelong condition that your primary care doctor can help you manage if needed. If you are positive for HSV-2, our medical team can connect you with a local provider if you don’t have one.

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When should I get tested for herpes?

In the early stage of infection, antibodies may not reach detectable levels, so a "false negative" result is possible. That’s why we recommend testing 3 weeks after exposure, then retesting again in 3 months. The herpes virus can be detected even if no symptoms or outbreaks are present. It usually takes 3 months from the time someone contracts herpes until the test turns positive.

What do I need to know about taking the test?

The screening for herpes is a blood test, but you do not need to fast. All you need is a lab order for your visit.

What do my herpes test results mean?

A positive test for herpes 2 means you are infected with that virus. Our doctors are available for a consult to discuss the next steps in your treatment plan.

What can I can do to lessen or stop herpes outbreaks?

It is easiest to pass the infection from one person to another during an outbreak. An outbreak is when the herpes sores are visible on the body. While taking a daily antiviral medication may lower the frequency of outbreaks, it cannot stop an outbreak from occurring or prevent the transmission of the virus from one partner to another. It is always important to practice safe sex, no matter what.

If I get tested for herpes, should I get tested for other STDs?

Yes, if you are concerned you might have on STD, our doctor’s recommend getting tested for all of them. Because many STDs may not show symptoms until long after infected, regular testing is important for your health and to prevent spreading an STD to your partners.

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