The herpes test will not be included in the STI panel. Even if you are a responsible adult sexually active, it is unlikely that herpes will be included in the STI panel.
The problem is not including the herpes panel on the STI panel. It’s part of why there are so few people getting it, why so many people don’t know they have it, and why we have a horrible stigma around those who have it. We are not going to solve this problem today.
It’s not on the STI panel for two reasons. One, it’s not a major issue medically. Two, it can be mentally devastating to know you have the disease.
Okay, let’s get back to the basics of how to diagnose herpes.
There are three ways to be diagnosed with herpes
- Clinical Diagnosis
- Blood test for IgG and IgM
- Viral Culture
A doctor or medical professional examines the active lesions or blisters to determine if you have herpes. It is possible to determine if the patient has herpes by comparing how the outbreak appears and listening to their symptoms. IgM and IgG antibodies to herpes are both present at the same time. Normally, IgM antibodies will appear first. IgM antibodies can only last for a few months, and may not appear after the first outbreak. However, IgG antibodies are indestructible and are produced during every outbreak.
A blood test checks for antibodies in your blood. The herpes virus doesn’t live in your blood. It lives in your nervous system. However, doctors look for IgG and IgM antibodies. What are the IgG antibodies and IgM antibodies IgG antibodies and IgM antibodies are both present around the same time as an individual is infected? IgM antibodies are usually the first to appear, but they may disappear after a few months. IgG antibodies can last for a long time and can be used during any outbreak.
A viral culture involves a swab of the lesion. This involves taking a sample of the lesion or scraping it for laboratory examination. Because we need to obtain a sample, this can only be done if there is an active epidemic.
The pros and cons of the various herpes testing
The great thing about being clinically diagnosed is that you can walk away with a solution. There is no need to wait for lab results. There is no way to determine what type of HSV you have. It is impossible to determine if the HSV type 1 or 2 infections are based on the location of the outbreak.
The IgG Blood Test positive side means that you will know which type you have. If you are positive for IgG, it is a fairly accurate result. Although you might not like the results, at least you know what they are. It can take several weeks, months, or even years for IgG antibodies in your system to show up. If you don’t test soon enough, you may get a negative result. However, your body has not produced the antibodies. The downside is that you may not know where your outbreak occurred. The test only indicates that you have the herpes virus and the type. It does not indicate the time or whereabouts.
Finally, the benefits of a viral cultural test include the fact that you can identify the location and the type. However, you must have an active lesion. Negative results are most likely to result if you try to swab too soon, too late, or without an active lesion.
There are many types of tests and questions you could ask your doctor. Every way to be tested or diagnosed is different, and each one can work for you.
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