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Re: blood test
 

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  Views: 2,806
Published: 17 years ago
 
This is a reply to # 371,654

Re: blood test


I am wondering if you are referring to a titre test that looks for antibodies in the blood. I'll go over testing issues:
It is often very hard for a person to know if they have genital
herpes as, in the majority of people, it is a mild skin infection
with few, if any symptoms. Antibody blood tests are available which show if a person has ever contracted the herpes simplex virus. These are type-specific blood tests and the result is clear as to whether type one or type two is detected. A positive antibody test for type one HSV is a confusing result as it may either indicate a genital or an oral infection, unless there is a confirmatory genital swab that shows type one HSV, whereas a positive antibody result for type 2 almost always is indicative of a genital infection. Blood tests are explained on our website www.herpesalliance.org in the section on diagnostic tests. After someone has first contracted herpes, it can take 12-16 weeks for a positive blood test result to occur as it may take this length of time for antibodies to form. Blood tests are not infallible and there is approximately a 10% false negative/false positive rate.

A blood test does not 'prove' that a person's genital symptoms are caused by herpes, even if they do have genital herpes, as many infections and dermatological skin conditions may occur in the genital area. This is part of the reason why a confirmatory swab test is recommended to achieve a diagnosis.

A swab test is used to detect the virus when there are symptoms
present that can be swabbed. A positive viral swab test is definitely positive. However, the herpes simplex virus is a fragile virus and it is difficult to obtain on a swab, especially if a few days have lapsed between the development of symptoms and the swab being taken. If a swab result comes back showing the virus has not been detected, this is not a clear negative result. It takes approximately a week to culture a swab test. If you want a swab test taken, it is preferable to see a doctor for a swab test as soon as possible after symptoms appear, within the first 24 hours. Trying to get an accurate diagnosis can take some months even if a person has lesions that appear to be typical of a herpes recurrence. However, I don't think that you can assume that you do have genital herpes if you have neither a positive swab result nor positive antibodies. Descriptions of symptoms in the absence of a physical examination is only sometimes helpful as many infections and skin conditions resemble each other and even an experienced sexual health doctor may need to await confirmation from a swab test. There are many lumps, bumps,
irritations and infections that occur in the genital/pelvic area as it is a warm, moist area that is the perfect climate for many
infections to grow.
 

 
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