Herpes is an infection of the soft mucous membranes, usually resulting in painful blisters and cold sores. It is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus, (HSV) of which there are two variants. HSV-1 most often results in oral herpes, though it is not unheard of for it to spread to the genitals as well. HSV-2 is the most common cause of genital and anal herpes.
Herpes can be hard to detect without medical testing, as it is only occasionally actively symptomatic. As many as 80% of those infected with Herpes may never realize they have it. Herpes is most contagious during a full outbreak, it is still possible to transmit HSV during a dormant period.
Herpes is a very wide-spread disease, affecting up to 25% of women, and 20% of men ages 12 and up in the United States. It is usually dormant, causing no discomfort or symptoms, and can be mistaken for innocuous skin problems even when active.
The most prominent symptoms of Herpes are recurring cold sores and blisters. If you or your partner experience these frequently recurring skin problems, consider talking to our counselors about testing for HSV.
Herpes can be spread through oral, vaginal, and anal sex, though HSV-1 is less likely to change from oral to genital herpes, and HSV-2 is most likely to remain on the genitals. If you or your partner displays the symptoms of herpes, consider abstaining from sex during full outbreaks, and talking to your doctor about the safest times for avoiding spreading the infection.
Detection and Treatment:
HSV can be detected by our tests via two different testing methods; IGM and IGG.
IGM is best at detecting the early stages of HSV infection, and is safe to be taken when there has been sexual contact within the last six weeks. IGG is a more thorough test that requires one to abstain from sex for six weeks prior to testing. It is highly encouraged for one to take both tests if they feel they are at risk.