As soon as you see any signs and symptoms of genital herpes, its recommended that you get tested. When you go to a doctor, you will need to specifically ask for a genital herpes test.
Types of Genital herpes tests
A blood test will be done upon request to your doctor or when no signs and symptoms of genital herpes are present.
When getting a blood test you must remember to ask for a “type specific herpes test”.
Find out more about getting a blood test for genital herpes.
Another good test to get is a Viral culture (swab) done. You will have to visit the doctor when you have an outbreak and the lesion is at its peak.
To obtain a Viral culture, the Doctor will take a sample of the open lesion with a cotton swab and send it to the lab to be analysed.
Find out more about getting a Viral culture done for genital herpes.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test
A PCR test is possibly the most accurate of all the tests. The reason for this is PCR testing is done on DNA and looks for genetic material of the herpes virus, even the smallest amount can be detected.
Though this method is most the accurate at diagnosing genital herpes, it isn’t widely used. The test is expensive and isn’t available everywhere.
Find out more about what a PCR test is..
Don’t Self Diagnose, See your Doctor
What to ask your Doctor?
Before going to your doctor, be well informed and get as much information as possible. Read this website thoroughly. Many people have been wrongly diagnosed, including myself.
Make sure you don’t just take their Visual diagnosis. Ask for the right blood test, PCR test or viral culture if its active in your body.
1. Ask your doctor if they have the PCR test available
2. Or ask for a “type specific herpes test“. Only after 12 weeks of suspected infection.
3. If you have an open lesion which you suspect to be genital herpes, ask for a viral culture to be done.
NEVER, NEVER just take the doctors visual diagnosis. My doctor told me I had genital warts. And when I went back to get them burnt off it had mostly cleared up, my doctor said “oh, don’t worry about it then. Its not warts”. I still to this day can’t believe I didn’t get her to check other diseases or took her first opinion.
Be INFORMED, get the right diagnosis
When to get tested
It takes 2 to 12 weeks for your body to develop antibodies to the Herpes virus. So you should wait until it’s been 12 weeks before getting a blood test or a PCR test.
If you get tested before this, you run the risk of getting a incorrect diagnosis.
If you do have symptoms of lesions or blisters, go see your doctor when these lesions are open and at their most sensitive.
The doctor can take a viral culture of the lesion and give you the most accurate diagnosis.
REMEMBER: AS WELL AS A DOCTOR’S VISUAL DIAGNOSIS, GET TESTED!
Get your partner tested
If you think you’re getting signs of genital herpes you need to tell your partner.
We understand that this may be an uncomfortable conversation but its necessary.
Before you had unprotected sex you should have both gotten tested for everything.
If you didn’t then its time to now.
80% of people with genital herpes don’t even know they have it and pass it onto their partners unknowingly. This could be the case.
So wouldn’t you like to know?
If your partner doesn’t want to get a test, demand it of them.
Its very rare someone will refuse but in case they do, it shows you what sort of person they are.
Getting testes is affordable and easy to do.
Accuracy for Genital herpes tests
Genital herpes can be a tricky virus to detect.
So make sure you get the right test at the right time.
If you believe you have been newly infected with genital herpes and you have the appearance of lesions/ blisters, get a viral culture done at the peak of what you suspect to be an outbreak, this means when the skin is open and very sore.
Or a PCR test on the area.
Wait 3 months to get blood test done or PCR test on blood as antibodies have yet appeared in the blood.
With any test, there is a margin for error. Get at least 2 tests done to confirm and be accurate.
There are many places you can go to get tested for genital herpes:
- Your doctor
- Youth clinics
- STD Clinics
You should chose which one you feel more comfortable with. Remember that your details are confidential so no one will know.
Cost of getting tested
Depending on what country you live in will depend on the cost.
American or Canadian:
If you are American or Canadians who want to go to the doctor, it can start anywhere from $160 without insurance.
For Australians you are a little more lucky, getting an STD test can be free if you have a medicare card or start from $60 for the consultation with a private doctor.
In New Zealand, most blood tests are funded by the District Health Board.
And the UK has both private and public health care. Private health care can start at 250pound for a genital herpes test.