Herpes, Early Detection is Key
In recent decades, a score of people have had to live with a false diagnosis after poor herpes testing. With all that goes along with a herpes simplex diagnosis – a reported case to the Center for Disease Control; notifying any past and potential sexual partners; medications – a false test result is more than a mild inconvenience. When undergoing herpes testing, it is important that proper techniques and tests be conducted and that results are based on more than just symptoms.
People who have developed sores in the genital area can seek herpes testing from their family doctor or from a health clinic. When herpes tests are conducted, the doctor will ask a series of questions along with taking a sample from fresh sores. This type of test is called a cell culture. Once a sample is taken, any virus that is present is allowed to grow. This makes it easy to view the HSV virus under a microscope.
From a cell culture sample, a solution containing HSV antibodies can be made. A fluorescent dye is then added to the sample. What happens when the body has a herpes infection is that antibodies are produced by the immune system. These antibodies stick to the present HSV virus. The fluorescent dye added to the solution causes the antibodies to glow under a special microscope.
The purpose of the above mentioned tests is to determine which of the two types of herpes simplex virus is present. The reason this needs to be determined is to plan a course of treatment. There are two types of HSV; Type 1 and Type 2. Both herpes type 1 and herpes type 2 infect the mucosal surfaces of the body – usually the areas around either the mouth or the genitals. It is estimated that, for both herpes simplex 1 and 2, two thirds of infected people do not show noticeable symptoms or show no symptoms at all. The danger here is in the fact that both herpes 1 and herpes 2 can be spread even when no symptoms are present, which increases risk for thousands of people each year.
Some herpes testing is done using blood samples. If a person has been recently infected with this sexually transmitted disease, a blood test may show a false-negative. However, a positive result can be concluded even when no symptoms are present. Seeking information on a herpes simplex diagnosis through blood tests can take several weeks, as it takes this long for HSV antibodies to show up in blood.
People seeking information on herpes simplex should call our toll free hotline to find a lab in their local area to get tested. An accurate diagnosis is necessary in order to help an infected person know what to expect and know how to treat their infections in order to control outbreaks and live in the best health possible.