Herpes Test – Which Test to Get and Where to Go?
I’m going keep it simple. You could put many hours into trying to understand the herpes tests, however sometime people just want to know “what test do most people get” or “which test is best?”
IF You Have an Open Sore and you want to know if it’s Herpes
If you have an active sore rush down and get a viral culture test. They swab it, let it grow, and you know. Make sure it is a type specific test. The newer the stage of the sore, the better. ASHA recommend within the first 48 hours of an outbreak.
IF You Don’t Have an Open Sore, but you want to know if You Have Herpes
It sounds like you want a herpes blood test. Now, which kind of blood test do you want?
If you had sex yesterday, and are worried today… you may want to rush down and get a blood test… but it may be worthless to do so. If you did get infected your body needs time to build up the herpes antibody, which is what the blood test looks for. Every person is different, BUT… ASHA recommends waiting 12 – 16 weeks after exposure.
There is rarely a “morning after test” for STDs. STDs usually need some time before they will show up in a test.
HerpeSelect Seems to Be the Test People are Willing to Pay For
At the free clinic, you are going to take… what they offer. BUT when I see an advertisement for a herpes testing center, the center almost always is offering the “HerpeSelect Type-Specific Immunoblot IgG” blood test.
If a business is going to spend money advertising, they want to make sure they are offering what the majority of people want.
There are several other reliable tests, and there are likely pros and cons of each. However, you will probably be happy if the place you are going to is offering the above test.
HerpeSelect also offers the “HerpeSelect Type-Specific ELISA IgG.” The Immunoblot seems to be the one that… people want to pay for.
HerpeSelect Type-Specific Immunoblot IgG — EXPLAINED
• HerpeSelect = Brand Name
• Type Specific – Type specific will let you know if you have HSV-1 or HSV-2 or both. Many or most tests today are type specific, BUT be sure to ask. You definitely want to know if you have HSV-1, HSV-2, or both. Keep in mind that you can have HSV-1 in the genital area and you can have HSV-2 orally. However, HSV-2 in the genital area and HSV-1 orally is the norm. Your type specific test won’t tell you where on your body you will have your outbreaks… but I think you will be able to figure it out if and when you need to cross that bridge.
• Immunoblot – You don’t want to get a false positive, and a false negative is no good either. You want an accurate test. If the Immunoblot is even just a LITTLE bit more accurate… and it’s available… why not get it? Most people seem to think it is a little bit more accurate than the ELISA.
• IgG – You may see “IgM” tests offered. ASHA does not recommend these. So keep in mind that the “IgG” at the end of the test name is important.
The Western Blot Test — If You Don’t Like Your Test Results and Want Confirmation
The “Western Blot” is the “Gold Standard” when it comes to herpes testing. Most people wouldn’t want to go through the hassle that it would take to get this test. This is a test developed by the University of Washington and you have to jump through quite a few hoops to get it.
• If you think you have herpes but your test came back negative, you may consider getting this.
• If you think you don’t have herpes but your test came back positive, you may consider getting this.
• If your test came back inconclusive, or there is difficulty interpreting the results, you may consider getting this.
• If you are obsessive-compulsive, you may feel compelled to get this test.
Or you may just want to ask your testing location for a “do over” if there is any confusion or doubt.
KEEP IN MIND
Keep in mind that there are other good tests that are available. BUT, if the place that you want to go offers the HerpeSelect Type-Specific Immunoblot IgG, you probably don’t need to look any further.
Where to Go For a Herpes Test or a Complete STD Panel of Tests
There are three places to go for your herpes test, and each has their benefits. You can go to:
1. Public Clinics
2. Your doctor and/or use your insurance
3. Private Testing Services
Issues to consider are:
• Confidentiality, anonymous testing, privacy
• Permanent record, insurance record
• Convenience & speed
• Kinds of test offered
• HSV test or complete panel of STD tests
Be sure to read the entire series on where to get tested. You have three choices… but which is the best for you?
Upcoming three part series on where to get tested:
1. Herpes & STD Testing at the Free Clinic – The Pros and Cons of Free
2. Why Keep Your Herpes & STD Testing Private from Your Doctor and Insurance Company
3. Are Private Testing Services for Herpes & STD’s Scams?