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Is there a test for Herpes and will it provide details on which kind if it is positive?

Hi

There are a couple of tests available for herpes simplex virus (HSV) testing.

The most common is the HSV PCR swab test. This test is done by using the swab to get some of the fluid from a HSV sore. This test will tell you if it is HSV and what type it is.

It is common for people with HSV to have no symptoms. In these situations there are blood tests available that can test for HSV but they do have some limitations when compared to the swab test for HSV. As they are blood antibody tests it can take up to 3 months for people to develop detectable antibodies after HSV is passed to them.

The first blood test that can be used is the HSV IgG, this test will look for HSV type 1 and 2. If either of these is positive the HSV IgG test will be positive. This is a free test in BC but in many situations it is not very helpful as it doesn’t tell you what types you have and where it is on the body.

The second blood test that is offered is the HSV Type specific (TSS). This test will tell you what type of HSV someone has. The only problem is that it will not tell you where it is on the body. For example if someone had the HSV TSS test and it showed that they had HSV type 1 you would not know if this is because HSV was on the mouth as cold sores or say on the genitals. With oral sex it is common for us to see HSV type 1 on the genitals and sometimes we see HSV type 2 on the mouth. This test is not covered by BC medical.

Have a look at our HSV page for more information on HSV.

Please leave a comment to let us know if this answers your question or if you need more information.

Health Nurse

For other readers, please feel free to leave a comment, or let us know if this was helpful.

This answer was posted on April 21, 2016

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