It is important to understand the different types of herpes simplex virus (HSV) tests that are available in BC; these include:
- HSV polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a swab test looks for the genetic material of HSV.
It is the test most commonly used, and involves swabbing sores. It is very accurate (nearly 100%).
If you test positive, this test will tell you which type (HSV-1 or HSV-2), and because the test is from sores on your body, you will know where you have HSV.
Window period: accurate once you have sores, usually within 2-21 days.
- HSV type-specific serology (HSV TSS) is a blood test that is used under specific circumstances, as it provides limited information that may or may not be useful for you to know. HSV TSS is very accurate.
If you test positive, this test will tell you if you have antibodies for HSV-1 and/or HSV-2. This test cannot tell you where on your body you have HSV.
Window period: 12-16 weeks.
To ensure your results are accurate, you need to consider when to get tested. Each of the above tests have window periods. A window period is the period of time between getting HSV and when it will show up on a test. To learn more about window periods, click here.