When to Test for Herpes HSV-2

Hopefully you already know that you should test for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Since Herpes HSV-2, or genital herpes, is among the most common infections and it’s without symptoms most the time. It’s definitely a good idea to add it to the list of STIs to be careful of. Now, let’s dig a step deeper and talk more precisely about this screening. After all, it’s important to know when to test for herpes HSV-2.

HSV-1 vs. HSV-2

First, let’s clarify what HSV-2 is, as compared to HSV-1. For starters, HSV-2 infects the genital and anal areas and is due to penile-vaginal sex or penile-anal sex.  On the other hand, HSV-1, which is known as oral herpes, can infect the genital area when your mouth comes into contact with the genital area through oral sex. Please note, myLAB Box does not offer HSV-1 testing due to the difficulty interpreting these test results. About two-thirds of adults are infected in childhood through non-sexual means.

Be Aware of Incubation Periods

Did you know that taking an STI test soon after sexual activity doesn’t always show a positive result for an infection that you are carrying?  In fact, sometimes it takes up to a few months for an infection to show.  For instance, genital herpes typically takes at least two weeks before your screening shows a positive result. Not only that, it can take as long as four months for some people to become positive.  That said, most infections test positive by eight weeks after sexual activity.

Recognizing Symptoms of Herpes HSV-2

Once genital herpes has made a home for itself in your body, there are a few symptoms that may appear.

  • Sores or cuts in or around the genitals
  • Headaches, body aches, or swollen lymph nodes
  • Tingling or shooting pains in the legs, hips, or buttocks

In addition, keep in mind that these are symptoms, especially in the genital area, are associated with genital herpes although other conditions can cause them as well.

Blood Test for Herpes HSV-2

Still, it is important to test for herpes HSV-2 regardless of whether or not you notice any symptoms. Not all infections show physical signs. However, despite a lack of symptoms, you can still have the infection and can still spread it to your partners. To be absolutely sure of your health, test for herpes HSV-2 from the comfort of your home.  

Here’s how it works:

  • Order your testing kit (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.

That’s right, all that is standing in the way of you and your peace of mind are the four simple steps above.

Four Ways to Test for Herpes HSV-2

Luckily, there are a number of different ways to test for herpes HSV-2 with myLAB Box.

  1. single infection test for HSV-2 will screen specifically for genital herpes.
  2. The Uber Box is myLAB Box’s most popular test kit.  This 8-panel kit screens for HIV (I & II), Hepatitis C, Herpes Simplex Type II (HSV-2), Syphilis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Trichomoniasis.
  3. A Love Box allows partners to test together. This Box includes two Uber Box test kits to provide ultimate convenience and affordability for couples.
  4. Total Box, the most comprehensive at-home test collection kit on the market, screens for 14 common infections: HIV (I & II), Hepatitis C, Herpes type-II (HSV-2), Syphilis, Chlamydia (genital, throat, + rectal), Gonorrhea (genital, throat, rectal), Trichomoniasis and Mycoplasma genitalium. A $30 add-on HPV option is available for women who are 30 years of age and older.

Should I Retest for Herpes HSV-2?

As there is not yet a cure for genital herpes, there is no need to retest after testing positive.   You should, however, retest every 6-12 months after testing negative, or if symptoms show. Remember, it can take up to 16 weeks to test positive for HSV-2, so if you test earlier than that you may want consider retesting. On the plus side, outbreaks are pretty easy to manage as long as you are properly treating the infection. If you do test positive, you are entitled to a free phone consultation with a physician affiliate, which is included with your test kit purchase. In most cases, this physician can even prescribe your treatment. This will help you to manage your symptoms and outbreaks and minimize them when they do appear.

Knowing when to test for genital herpes allows you to determine your status without visiting the clinic. Knowing how easy it is to test from home will make you wonder why you didn’t try home testing sooner!

Reviewed by Luis Ferdinand M. Papa, MD, MHA

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