Herpes is a common STD, and knowing your status should not come as a herculean task. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that about 20 million STDs occur yearly in the United States, and with this fast growing rate of STD, getting tested for herpes becomes a useful option. Many people who live with the herpes virus do not know that they have it because they hardly notice symptoms, even if symptoms occur, they might mistake it for something else.
CDC advocates that the herpes testing should not be administered to everyone especially those without symptoms because it might not cause any change in their sexual behavior. Also, they support that false results may arise in such scenario, tagging a herpes-free person as living with herpes patient. However, honesty still leads over pleasure and sex, that is why you need to open up to your partner about you having herpes even without having the clear symptoms. Also, talk honestly with your doctor, this will let him into the scene of what you are into, causing a medical advice to conduct a test or not.
Here are some symptoms of the genital herpes
• Reddened, raw, painless and cracked areas around the genitals
• Anal and genital itching
• Small blisters that burst to form painful sores
• Pain from urine passing over the sores, especially in women
• Backaches, muscle aches, and headaches
• Ingrown hairs
• Nausea and fever-like feelings
Some other symptoms of genital herpes abound, but you may not wait to experience all before you go for the test. It varies as some people may experience few symptoms while others may experience various symptoms.
Herpes testing lets your doctor advise you medically, giving you an insight of the potential symptoms, how to control them, methods of ensuring that you don’t spread the virus and in the tips to manage it. Testing for herpes is necessary if your partner has the virus. If after the test you are free, your doctor will also let you know preventive and protective measures that will lower your risk of contracting the virus. However, few types of tests for genital herpes exist, they include PCR blood test, cell culture, and antibody detection test.
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) blood test
This blood test has a high tendency of determining if you have the herpes virus even when you don’t show symptoms. The test goes to search for pellets and smallest pieces of the herpes virus’ DNA in the blood, it is an active and a standard test used in ascertaining if a person has the herpes virus. The CDC advocates the use of this test in detecting herpes simplex encephalitis, it makes the discovery of the virus’ DNA possible. PCR is a rampant herpes test because of its high accuracy.
Cell culture otherwise known as virologic testing is possible for an individual that experiences an outbreak. If you experience this and wish to conduct a herpes test, your doctor collects cell sample from the blister and test for the virus in a culture cup using a microscope. The virus multiplies in the sample if it is present. However, this test method is very useful in the clear blister stage as the virus can reproduce. It may be difficult to get accurate results during latency, chronic lesions, and ulcerated sores because at this juncture; the virus may not be active enough to reproduce and show up in the culture.
Antibody detection test
Antibodies are produced by the immune system to defend the body from an infection, the two antibodies are Immunoglobulin G (IgG), and Immunoglobulin M (IgM); the antibody detection test can locate these antibodies in the human blood. This test indicates the difference between HSV-1 and HSV-2, but IgM test can cross-react with other viruses in the same family with herpes and produce an incorrect result. That is why IgG is mainly used in the antibody detection test to diagnose herpes virus.
Herpes testing is no doubt one step towards curbing the rate of spread of this virus. When you are diagnosed and found herpes positive, much attention will be employed to ensure that you do not spread the virus. Testing positive for the virus doesn’t mean an end to anything because you can still enjoy love, relationship, and even sex without infecting your partner as long as you play safe.
For more useful information about herpes testing, get from CDC and WebMD.