Genital Herpes Testing

Genital Herpes Testing

Testing for Herpes may be accomplished by way of a viral culture, which uses specimens taken from the blister, fluid in the blister, or sometimes spinal fluid.

The test samples are typically sent to a laboratory where they are analyzed. It takes between one and 14 days to detect the genital herpes simplex virus made from the specimen. This test is useful, but it is sometimes difficult to detect the virus in the sample.

Immunofluorescence Assay

An immunofluorescence assay is another Herpes testing technique used to identify antibodies to the HHV-2. These antibodies are proteins that help the body fight against HHV-2.

If the specific antibodies are present, a positive diagnosis is made. This test is less expensive, more accurate, and faster than a viral culture. However, it may take up to 30 days for antibodies to build up to detectable levels. Therefore, if herpes is highly suspected and results are negative soon after possible exposure to the virus, a repeat test is recommended.

Polymerase Chain Reaction Test

A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) HHV-2 test may be performed to determine whether the virus itself is present in the patient’s blood.

A sample of the patient’s blood is taken and sent to a laboratory. If the Herpes simplex virus’ genetic makeup (DNA) is present, a positive diagnosis is made. The virus can even be detected during the latent stages of the infection.