HERPES HOME TEST: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
You’re considering an at home genital herpes test? Well, we’re sure there are a lot of questions flying through your head. For instance: What exactly is genital herpes? What are some signs that I have herpes? Don’t worry – we’re here to help!
In today’s uncertain world, STDs are constantly on the rise. For example, one in three Americans have a sexually transmitted infection. In fact, herpes in particular is absolutely the most common infection in the United States.
With an infection this common, it’s a good thing there is an at home testing option. To really understand everything about taking an at-home genital herpes test, you first need to know about the infection and how to avoid it.
Get The Facts: Herpes Simplex Virus
The Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is a sexually transmitted infection that is categorized by two types of viruses: herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1, or oral herpes) and herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2, or genital herpes). Let’s take a closer look at HSV-2.
What is HSV-2?
Genital herpes, or HSV-2, is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STI) in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is actually the third most common. In fact, one in six people in the U.S. between the ages of 14 and 49 have genital herpes.
You can contract this infection through oral, anal or vaginal sex. Since it usually appears in the form of blisters or sores, it can easily be mistaken as a blemish or ingrown hair. Many times, there are no visible signs or symptoms to alert you of this infection’s presence. However, just because there are no obvious symptoms doesn’t mean that the infection isn’t there.
This is why using a herpes test kit is the most vital step of all. Not getting tested means not being diagnosed and treated. In turn, you can potentially spread the infection, and cause unnecessary health complications for yourself and others.
How Does Herpes Spread?
The massive infection rate is largely due to the way herpes is spread. The virus is carried in fluids that are found in easily breakable herpes sores. Having direct contact with those fluids can cause you to contract the infection. It is transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex with a person who has the disease.
It’s possible to contract herpes from a sexual partner who does not have any visible sores. This is because you can get herpes simply by making contact with skin in an infected person’s genital area regardless of whether or not sores are present.
How Can You Reduce Your Risk of Contracting Herpes?
The only way to avoid contracting herpes is to abstain from sex. However, it is possible to reduce your risk of contracting herpes if you are sexually active. Here’s what to do:
- Ask your partner to get tested prior to having sex with him or her.
- Use latex condoms every time you have sex.
- If your partner has herpes, make sure he or she takes an anti-herpes medication everyday. Avoid sex on days where your partner is experiencing symptoms of herpes, such as visible sores.
Following these tips can help you practice safe sex and drastically reduce your risk of getting herpes.
What Are the Symptoms of Herpes?
As we mentioned earlier, having herpes doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll immediately be seeing telltale signs that it’s in your body. The symptoms that do show up are often mild enough to be completely unrecognized as the infection. In short, many people who have herpes may not even know it. Then it is that much easier to pass it on to someone else. That’s why it’s so important to use a herpes test kit to determine whether or not you have this infection.
What’s more, both versions of HSV can be passed to partners whether or not the carrier is showing symptoms. Knowing the status of your own sexual health, as well as that of your sexual partners, is the best way to stay safe.
For oral herpes, or HSV-1, the carrier may see common “fever sores” or “cold sores” around their mouth. Now you’re probably thinking about everyone you’ve ever met who has complained of a cold sore. Maybe you get cold sores yourself. That is how rampant herpes has become!
An infected person with genital herpes, or HSV-2, may have blisters and bumps that can break and result in painful sores. During your very first outbreak, you may also display flu-like symptoms, such as fever, body aches or swollen glands.
If visible, here are some of the more common signs of an HSV-2 vaginal or pelvic infection:
- Discomfort similar to a yeast, bacterial or bladder infection
- Sores in or around the vagina, vulva or urethra
- Bleeding between periods
- Pain while urinating
- Headaches, body aches or flu-like symptoms
Here are some of the most common symptoms of a HSV-2 penile infection:
- Sores on or around the penis
- Pain while urinating
- Swelling or discomfort in the groin nodes
- Headaches, body aches or flu-like symptoms
Most cases of genital herpes are caused by HSV-2, but if you participate in oral sex, keep in mind that the oral variety of HSV can still cause genital herpes. So it pays to test regularly and be honest with your partners.
Is There a Cure for Herpes?
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for either type of herpes. Once you are infected, you are usually a carrier for life.
It’s not all bad news, though! The symptoms caused by herpes can be treated and relieved with the proper medication. These can lower the frequency of your outbreaks and relieve the pain that comes with the symptoms. Treatments can also shorten the amount of time that each outbreak lasts. Some can even make it less likely for the HSV infection to be passed on to your partner. If you have herpes, it’s best to discuss treatment options with your doctor.
Should Pregnant Women Use A Herpes Test Kit?
For pregnant women, there are additional reasons to fear genital herpes. As an example, the infection can be passed on to the baby. Ultimately, this may lead to miscarriage or premature birth. Prenatal herpes, which can be fatal, is also a possible complication for the fetus. For this reason, using a herpes test kit is crucial for pregnant women.
How to Use A Herpes Test Kit
myLAB Box’s Genital Herpes Testing Kit specifically screens for genital herpes HSV-2. This test kit is a popular option for those who think or know that they have been in contact with this infection.
Here’s how it works:
- Order a home testing kit online. (You even get free shipping!)
- Collect a sample using the easy-to-follow instructions.
- Send the sample off for testing. (More free shipping!)
- Receive your lab-certified results online in just days.
Testing for herpes has never been more convenient. You won’t need to schedule an appointment with your doctor or visit a lab to test for herpes. The entire test can be completed from the comfort of your own home!
How Often Should I Test Myself for Herpes?
Again, HSV-2 is very common, so regular testing is recommended. We put together a guide that can help to quickly inform you of when to test for HSV-2 and other STIs. Above all, set a schedule for routine screenings. This will give you total control over your sexual health.
Stay in Control of Your Health With At-Home Herpes Tests
Nothing is more important than your health, and when it comes to your wellbeing, knowledge is power. That’s why it’s in your best interest to test for HSV-2 and other STIs using at-home herpes test kit. The results of this test will give you the information you need to stay in control of your health!