At Home Genital Herpes Test
You’re considering an at home genital herpes test but there are a lot of questions flying through your head. What exactly is genital herpes? What are some signs that I have herpes?
Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is caused by either herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) or type 1 (HSV-1) .. There is no cure for herpes.
How Do You Get Genital Herpes?
In general, HSV-2 infects the genital and anal areas and is due to penile-vaginal sex or penile-anal sex. HSV-1 infects the genital area as a result of transmission from the mouth to the genital area through oral sex. In addition, HSV-1 also can be transmitted genitally by penile-vaginal sex or penile-anal sex.
About one in five women ages 14 to 49 years have genital herpes (HSV-2) while one in 10 men in that same age range have it.
Genital herpes is more common in women than men because a woman’s anatomy puts her more at risk. If the vaginal tissue has tears or abrasions, it’s easier to get genital herpes.
Although this sexually transmitted infection (STI) is often spread when there’s an open sore, you can get herpes from someone who isn’t showing symptoms or sores through asymptomatic shedding of the virus.
Wearing condoms can cut down on your risk for contracting herpes.
Signs You Might Need a Herpes Test
Although the Herpes Simplex Virus-2 doesn’t usually show symptoms, here are some changes to look for that are signs you should take a herpes test:
Symptoms of herpes:
- Painful sore or bump on your genitals
- Painful sore or bump by your upper thighs
- Painful growth, sore or bump by your anus
Symptoms of a herpes outbreak:
- Blisters on your genitals
- Blisters that break and become painful sores
- Flu-like symptoms: fever, body aches, swollen glands, and fatigue
Order a herpes test to find out if you have the herpes virus and learn what steps to take next.
Where Do I Get a Genital Herpes Test for HSV-2?
You can order a genital herpes test online and get tested from the comfort of home.
If you decide to visit your healthcare provider, they’ll take a swab from a sore to test in the lab, or they might take a blood sample to look for genital herpes antibodies. When most people go to the doctor, their sores have already resolved and taking a swab is not possible. If you have antibodies to HSV-2, you are infected with genital herpes due to HSV-2. If you have antibodies to HSV-1, it could be due to cold sores (fever blisters) on the lips of the mouth or due to genital HSV-1. myLAB Box offers testing for HSV-2 antibodies which are always due to a sexually transmitted infection. myLAB Box does not offer testing for HSV-1 antibodies because of difficulty interpreting these test results.
If you’re exposed to HSV-2, you could have a positive test for HSV-2 antibodies as soon as a few weeks following exposure. If you choose to test a few weeks after possible exposure to HSV-2, you could get a negative result. To be sure you’re actually negative (not infected with HSV-2), you should retest for HSV-2 again up to 16 weeks (4 months) after exposure.
What Happens If I Have Genital Herpes due to HSV-2?
If your genital herpes test comes back positive for HSV-2, it’s important to know that there is no cure for herpes. It’s a lifelong disease.
Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss medications, how to control outbreaks, as well as what to do—and what to avoid—during an outbreak.
Medicine can help prevent outbreaks from happening and should lower your risk of passing genital herpes to your partner.
Talk to a doctor or nurse about how you can avoid spreading this disease to your partner. Make sure your partner gets a herpes test, too. Genital herpes does not cause cervical cancer or anal cancer.
How often should I get an STD Test?
Just because you had a herpes test once doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. Wearing condoms doesn’t completely eliminate the risk of getting genital herpes. Because genital herpes due to HSV-2 is very common, regular testing is recommended.
If you don’t have time to visit a clinic waiting room and want lab-certified results, order online and test at home with myLAB Box. Results arrive in just a few days.