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How Much Does it Cost to Get Tested for Herpes?

How Much Does it Cost to Get Tested for Herpes? (HSV-2)

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Herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI). Unfortunately, this STI spreads easily, which is why testing on a regular basis is so important. But, how much does it cost to get tested for herpes? What are your testing options? How can you find herpes testing near me? Here’s what you need to know:

Herpes Testing Near Me: Do I Need to Get Tested?

If you are sexually active, you are at risk of contracting genital herpes. It’s recommended that you test for genital herpes after every new sexual partner or known or suspected exposure to this STD. It’s best to get tested even if you have practiced safe sex by using a condom.

What is Herpes?

Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is caused by either herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) or type 1 (HSV-1). In general, HSV-2 infects the genital and anal areas of the body. Typically, it is contracted through penile-vaginal sex or penile-anal sex.

HSV-1 is most known for cold sores near the mouth, but can infect the genital area as a result of transmission from the mouth through oral sex. In addition, HSV-1 can be transmitted genitally by penile-vaginal sex or penile-anal sex.

How Common is Herpes?

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. As an example, if the vaginal tissue has tears or abrasions, it’s easier to get genital herpes.

Both types of herpes have spread like wildfire throughout the United States in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), genital herpes is actually the third most common STI. It is estimated that one out of every six people between the ages of 14 and 49 have contracted genital herpes. 

Who is at Risk of Contracting Genital Herpes?

Women are more likely to contract genital herpes than men. The CDC suggests that this is due to the fact that genital herpes is more easily transmitted from a man to a woman during sex. However, every sexually active individual is at risk of contracting this STD.

How is Herpes Spread?

This massive infection rate is largely due to the way that herpes is spread. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have sex in order to contract herpes. The virus is carried in fluids found in easily breakable herpes sores. Having direct contact with those fluids can cause you to contract the infection.

You can also get herpes from making contact with an infected person’s mucous membranes, genital secretions, or oral secretions.

Although this sexually transmitted infection (STI) is often spread when there’s an open sore, you can still get herpes from someone who isn’t showing symptoms or sores through asymptomatic shedding of the virus.[1] 

You won’t get herpes from toilet seats, swimming pools, bedding, or from touching objects around you such as silverware, soap, or towels. This is because the virus dies rather quickly once it is outside of the body, so it cannot survive on other surfaces. Bodily fluids must be involved with both parties.

Symptoms of HSV-2 Infection

Although the Herpes Simplex Virus-2 doesn’t usually show symptoms,[1][2] there are a few you should look out for. Some can be so subtle that they are mistaken for ingrown hair or acne. Because of this, many people will never realize that they are infected without being tested. If they do exist, herpes symptoms can eventually become severe and very painful without proper treatment.

Symptoms can vary on a case-by-case basis. Anyone with genital herpes (HSV-2) may experience symptoms like pain while urinating or consistent headaches, body aches or flu-like symptoms.[3] The HSV-2 infection most commonly appears in the form or sores, lesions or blisters affecting the genital area, thighs, buttocks and the area near the anus. These blisters can break and bleed easily before scabbing over.

For men, a penile herpes infection includes uncomfortable symptoms such as sores on or around the penis and swelling or discomfort in the groin nodes.

For women, a vaginal or pelvic herpes infection can cause discomfort similar to a yeast, bacterial or bladder infection. In addition, sores in or around the vagina, vulva or urethra and bleeding between periods may occur. It is especially important for pregnant women to know if they have herpes, as it is possible to pass it to an infant and cause miscarriage, premature birth or prenatal herpes, which can be fatal.[2]

Many people report flu-like symptoms during an initial outbreak of herpes. You may experience swollen lymph nodes, body aches, fever, and a headache.

Since the sores associated with herpes can bleed easily, this infection can put you at an increased risk of acquiring HIV if you come into contact with fluids from the mouth, penis, vagina or rectum during sex with someone who has HIV. The only way to know for sure if you have this sexually transmitted infection is by getting tested.

It’s important to note that you can spread herpes to others even if you are not exhibiting symptoms. This is called asymptomatic shedding.

What to Expect During Your First Herpes Outbreak

If you contract herpes, it’s important to know what to expect during your first outbreak. The virus will lie dormant in your body at times, which means you won’t always experience symptoms of an outbreak after you are infected. However, it is very common to have several outbreaks within the first year of contracting the virus. Most people experience their first outbreak within the first 20 days following initial exposure to genital herpes. The first outbreak usually lasts between two to four weeks.

No outbreak is pleasant, but the first outbreak of genital herpes is typically the worst. Most people report that their repeat outbreaks are shorter and less painful than their first outbreak. Some people will eventually stop having outbreaks altogether. However, this does not mean that they no longer have genital herpes, but rather that the virus is dormant.

It’s possible for an outbreak to take you by surprise, but many people will start to see warning signs of an outbreak in the hours or days before it occurs. These warning signs may include itchiness, burning, or a tingly sensation on or near the genitals.

When Should You Test For Herpes?

If you believe you have been exposed to genital herpes, you may immediately start to search for “herpes testing near me.” But taking a test immediately after you are exposed to this STD is not recommended. In fact, it could lead to inaccurate results.

Every STD has an incubation period, which is the span of time from when you are exposed to the STD to when the STD is detectable in your body. If you test before this incubation period is over, your test results may not be accurate, which is why it’s so important to wait.

The average incubation period for genital herpes is four days. In other words, if exposed to HSV-2, a person could have a positive test for HSV-2 antibodies as soon as four days following exposure. If you take a test too early, meaning within the first four days following possible exposure to HSV-2, you could get a false negative result. 

The average incubation period is four days, but in many cases, it can take as long as 12 days for genital herpes to become detectable in your system. Because the incubation period for genital herpes can vary, if you test negative the first time, it’s best to retest to confirm that these results are accurate. To be absolutely sure of the negative results, each person should retest for HSV-2 again up to four months after exposure.

Where Can I Find Herpes Testing Near Me?

There are several ways to get tested for herpes. You can either visit a doctor’s office or clinic or take a test at home. Before you decide which is right for you, it’s important to learn about the testing procedures and the cost of testing for both options.

How Much Does An HSV / At Home Herpes Test Cost?

Our at home herpes test costs $79 for both men and women. When people visit a clinic or doctor’s office, it’s possible that they’ll be able to use insurance to lower expenses. For many folks, this may not be the best option. When you use insurance, your testing data information is shared on something called the Medical Information Bureau database. This data is accessible by any insurance company. Think of it as a sort of “permanent record” for a person’s health.

This problem doesn’t exist with myLAB Box. Our herpes test cost (HSV test cost) includes the most valuable thing of all – peace of mind. This means that an individual’s test results will remain private. Each customer receives their results via a secure and confidential portal online. No one else has to know.

How Much Does A Herpes Test Cost At A Clinic?

Well, that depends on the testing method. Pricing can also vary by location and income.

Testing for herpes at a clinic or doctor’s office also may require a blood test; sometimes, a blood test is ordered to test for a variety of STDs at the same time. What is the cost of a herpes blood test or a comprehensive blood test? Costs may depend on the provider and insurance benefits (if you use insurance), but, again, using insurance may not be the best option for everyone. If you pay out-of-pocket for blood tests, the herpes test cost may soar into the hundreds (especially if the test combines screens for other STDs).

HSV Test Cost: Is At Home Testing More Affordable?

If herpes/HSV is the only concern, testing at home (pain-free) could be a great option. The HSV test cost may be considerably lower. Plus, you don’t have to schedule an appointment for the test, which means you also could save a co-pay! Making an appointment for a lab test in the office also may require seeing the doctor and paying for the office visit. Test on your own schedule discreetly in the comfort of your own home without extra co-pays added to the herpes test cost.

Our home testing options are designed to be affordable without the need for insurance. Customers can screen for the most common STDs, including herpes, from the comfort of home for only about half of the out-of-pocket cost of STD testing at clinics and other medical facilities. In addition, we accept most Flexible Savings Account (FSA) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA) payment cards.

How Does Herpes Testing Work In A Clinic?

As we’ve mentioned, herpes is quite contagious. Keeping that in mind, it is important that people test regardless of whether or not they are experiencing symptoms.

If testing in a doctor’s office or clinic, they’ll take a swab from a sore to test in the lab or take a blood sample to look for genital herpes antibodies. If the antibodies for HSV-2 are found, a person is infected with genital herpes. If HSV-1 antibodies are found, it could be due to cold sores (fever blisters) on the mouth or genital HSV-1. Unfortunately, when most people go to the doctor, their sores have already resolved and taking a swab is not possible.

How Does At Home Herpes Testing Work?

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. 

If you want to test for herpes at home, here’s what to do:

  1. Order a home testing kit for herpes from the myLAB Box website. Your testing kit will ship for free in discreet packaging, so no one will know you are receiving a herpes test. 
  2. Read the easy-to-follow instructions inside the testing kit. Collect a sample whenever it is most convenient for you. The entire testing process should take less than five minutes.
  3. Use the self-addressed stamped envelope in your testing kit to ship your sample to the lab for testing.
  4. Results will be ready within a few days. You will receive an email with a link that will take you to an online portal with your results. 

If you test positive with myLAB Box’s herpes test kit, we will connect you with a free phone consultation with a physician. You can use this consultation to ask questions, discuss your concerns, and learn what steps you should take next to protect yourself and your sexual partners.

Testing for herpes has never been easier, more convenient, or more discreet thanks to the at-home testing option.

Finding Herpes Testing Near Me: Where Can I Get Tested for Herpes?

You may be wondering, “What should I do if I need help finding herpes testing near me?” The great news is that herpes testing is no longer restricted to visiting your local physician or clinic any longer. MyLAB Box offers a discreet and affordable testing alternative that can be completed all from the comfort of your own home. There are many benefits to testing in this manner to include convenience, privacy and relief as you take the necessary steps towards understanding your HSV status.

When thinking about herpes testing there are a few things to consider. First, is an at-home testing kit really right for you? While the decision to take a traditional test in a healthcare setting versus taking a test privately on your own is a very personal decision, opting for an at-home testing kit can provide you with ease as you take control of these important health decisions. Confidential STD testing in this manner is a great alternative for those who may be fearful or even embarrassed to visit their doctor in-person.

Additionally, personal testing kits are an excellent choice for those who may not be presenting lesions or those who are simply curious about their status and want to avoid the hassle of scheduling an appointment or paying expensive medical and laboratory fees.

What’s more is that testing at home can help you reduce the potential risk for transmission to a partner while also giving you direction on the best ways in which to protect your own health going forward. So, why not test yourself and receive results on-the-go from a reputable service provider like MyLAB Box? If you are thinking to yourself, “What is the best way to find herpes testing near me?”, consider a modern, at-home alternative as one option that may be the best direction for you.

What is Extragenital Testing For Herpes?

Anyone who has had oral or anal sex should take an extragenital herpes test. In short, The rectal form of herpes is also called “HSV proctitis” in the medical community.

Anal herpes symptoms include:

  • Ulcers or sores on or near your anus
  • Scabs that cover ulcers that have ruptured or bled
  • Bloody stools
  • Bloody discharge from the rectum
  • Diarrhea
  • Pain in the rectum
  • White blisters
  • Red bumps
  • Rashes on your legs, neck, upper body, or trunk

An anal herpes test will tell you if you have the infection. If you test positive, know that there isn’t a cure for herpes but you can get medications to treat it. In some cases, anal herpes has been mistaken for inflammatory bowel disease until an anal herpes test was given.

Oral herpes also requires a separate extragenital test. When combined, these three tests offer the most complete picture of a person’s status.

Try MyLAB Box’s Discreet at Home Herpes Test Kit

How is Herpes Treated?

If the results for a 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, but no one has to face this alone. Millions of people suffer from genital herpes and researchers are working to find a cure.

There is no cure for herpes, but there is a way to manage the symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication such as acyclovir or valacyclovir. You may be advised to take these medications when you are experiencing an outbreak or every day, regardless of whether or not you have symptoms. Make sure you follow your doctor’s instructions closely.

Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever or anti-inflammatory can alleviate the pain and discomfort of a genital herpes outbreak. You can also use ice packs or try taking a warm bath to manage these symptoms.

What Should You Do If You Test Positive For Herpes?

Make an appointment with a doctor to discuss medications, how to control outbreaks, as well as what to do—and what to avoid—during an outbreak. Healthcare practitioners can offer medications that relieve the painful symptoms associated with herpes and should lower the risk of passing genital herpes to a partner. Some treatments can even shorten the length of time that each outbreak lasts.

An infected person should always let any partner know about their status. This will let the other person know to take a herpes test as well. Both partners should talk to a doctor about how to prevent passing the infection to others. Additionally, the medical team can explain how to have sex safely during an outbreak. Untreated herpes can lead to more frequent transmission, painful outbreaks and serious health consequences. For example, untreated lesions on the cervix can lead to cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix).

How Can You Prevent Genital Herpes?

There are two ways to completely eliminate the risk of contracting genital herpes. The first is abstaining from all sexual activity. The second is being in a monogamous relationship with someone who has tested negative for genital herpes.

There are other ways to reduce your risk of contracting genital herpes. If you are sexually active, always use a condom even if you don’t think your partner has genital herpes. It is possible to contract herpes even if you are using a condom if you make contact with an infected area that is not covered by the condom. However, using a condom will drastically reduce your risk of getting this STD.

If you have tested positive for genital herpes, it’s best to avoid engaging in sexual activity while you are experiencing an outbreak.

Take Control of Your Health

Knowledge is power when it comes to your health. The more you know, the better you can care for yourself. That’s why it is so important to get tested for herpes if you believe you have been exposed to this STI.

Genital herpes testing is typically not part of a regular physical or gynecological exam. For this reason, it’s up to you to get tested on a regular basis to protect your sexual health.

Reviewed by Luis Ferdinand M. Papa, MD, MHA

References

  1. [1] Study found that asymptomatic carriers of genital herpes are shedding the virus in genital fluid 10.2% of the time in a given month. Symptomatic carriers shed at a rate of 20.1%.
    Tronstein E, Johnston C, Huang M, et al. Genital Shedding of Herpes Simplex Virus Among Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Persons With HSV-2 Infection. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2011.
  2. [2] Study found that herpes developed in 33% of infants whose mothers were infected for the first time at term compared to 3% who had herpes before pregnancy. Of 10 infants who developed herpes at birth, 5 died or were disabled at the time the article was written.
    Brown ZA, Benedetti J, Ashley R, et al. Neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus Infection in Relation to Asymptomatic Maternal Infection at the Time of Labor. New England Journal of Medicine. 1991.
  3. [3] Study found that first-time HSV-2 symptomatic patients often present with headaches, fever, difficult or painful urination, genital pain, discharge and genital lesions.

Additional References:

  1. Lafferty WE. The changing epidemiology of HSV-1 and HSV-2 and implications for serological testing. Herpes: The Journal of the IHMF. 2002.
  2. Corey L. The Current Trend in Genital Herpes: Progress in Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 1994.
  3. Koutsky LA , Ashley RL , Holmes KK , et al. The frequency of unrecognized type 2 herpes simplex virus infection among women: Implications for the control of genital herpes. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 1990.
  4. Zeitlin L, Whaley KJ, Hegarty TA, et al. Tests of vaginal microbicides in the mouse genital herpes model. Contraception. 1997.
  5. Biraro S, Mayaud P, Morrow RA, et al. Performance of Commercial Herpes Simplex Virus Type-2 Antibody Tests Using Serum Samples From Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 2011.
  6. Guerry SL, Bauer HM, Klausner JD, et al. Recommendations for the Selective Use of Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 Serological Tests. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2005.
  7. Aselton P, Affenito S. Privacy Issues with the Electronic Medical Record. Annals of Nursing and Practice. 2014.
  8. Yawn B, Saddier P, Wollan P, et al. A Population-Based Study of the Incidence and Complication Rates of Herpes Zoster Before Zoster Vaccine Introduction. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2007.