Genital herpes is often misdiagnosed. Affected individuals mistake genital herpes for a sore or a boil. If there is a blister-like entity on your genital region, you need to get it tested immediately. Early diagnosis of herpes can help treat the disease on time.
How is Herpes Tested?
The most common way to diagnose genital herpes is through a swab. The individual can swab his own blister, and send the cotton swab to a laboratory for analysis. The swab includes a tissue sample from the blister, and under ideal conditions, is then grown in the lab as a viral culture. After a couple of days of viral culture, pathologists can determine whether you have herpes or not. The test results of the swab, in conjunction with the appearance of symptoms, can help diagnose the type and severity of herpes simplex virus.
Do I Need to Get Tested?
In many individuals, the herpes virus does not show itself. If you have been with a single partner, and your partner complains that he has contracted herpes from you, then you need to get tested. Getting tested, regardless of symptoms, can let your doctor know that the virus exists in your body. This allows you, and your doctor, to be prepared to tackle the virus outbreak whenever it occurs.
You may also need to get tested if your partner has herpes. Even if you have had protected sex with your partner, a test can make sure that you are safe and free from the virus. You should also get tested if you had sex with a new partner, just to be safe. Pregnant women should get tested for herpes because they might pass it on to their newborn.
Are There Other Testing Methods?
Analysis of herpes simplex virus in detail requires a blood test. Through a blood test, pathologists can determine if you have antibodies for the herpes virus. Antibodies are generated by the immune system in the presence of the herpes virus. The presence of antibodies shows that you were affected by the herpes virus at some point, or are still affected.
Another test that can help determine the type of herpes virus is the DNA test. This test, which relies on the infected tissue or blood, can determine the type of virus and what it means for you. For example, people with type 1 herpes virus recover better than people with type 2 herpes virus.
Reliability of Tests and Diagnosis
Swab tests are only reliable in the range of 50% to 90%. For half of the patients who suffer from herpes, the results are often false negative. False-negative is when the test may actually be positive, but the laboratory declares it negative. This occurs in cases when the blister might not have enough fluid to allow viral culture growth.
While blood tests are not fully reliable, they are more accurate. Individuals who engage in heavy sexual activity, often with new partners are recommended to get a blood test because they have a higher risk of suffering from sexually transmitted diseases.
Consultation and Doctor’s Referral
Blood tests are often recommended by doctors and cannot be issued privately. For this reason, if you suspect you might have herpes, you need to book an appointment with your doctor. Based on your previous medical history, current situation and questions, he will decide whether or not you should be tested for herpes.
What If I Don’t Want to Get Tested?
If you do not want to get tested for herpes, you need to be confident that you do not have the disease. If you choose to ignore your disease, you will not only be putting yourself but also your partners at risk. If you are a woman planning to get pregnant by any chance, then testing becomes even more necessary as you might pass herpes on to your newborn child.
Consultation with the doctors and proper testing can ensure that you and your loved ones remain safe from this unnecessary and incurable infection.