Reasons For Getting A Herpes Blood Test
Should You Have One?

There are many reasons for getting a herpes blood test but it is absolutely critical for an accurate herpes diagnoses.

Consider this, have you or has someone you know been diagnosed with a herpes infection and would you like to know if you (or your friend) are a good candidate for getting a herpes blood test?

Below is a partial and somewhat controversial list of questions for those who may be questioning whether or not they have a reason for getting a herpes blood test:

Top Reasons For Getting A Herpes Blood Test

1.  Have you had a sexual partner in the past and wonder if you could have gotten the herpes virus without developing symptoms?

There are endless stories about people who claim to have never had symptoms of an outbreak but in reality they probably have.  And this alone are good reasons for getting a herpes blood test.  However; for some reason or another, the obvious symptoms were overlooked or their symptoms were so mild that they either failed to notice them or simply dismissed them as another condition.  I completely understand how they can be overlooked especially if you have no reason to suspect that you have been exposed to the virus.

2.  Have you been diagnosed with genital herpes by a physical exam alone and want a genital herpes blood test to confirm the diagnosis?

There are a lot of people who were diagnosed with genital herpes without any type of herpes test…at all!  This amazes me somewhat but you have to understand that this was a common practice among health care providers 25+ years ago.  A doctor would conduct a physical exam of a patient then basically, eyeball the diagnosis. 

A survey published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that professionally trained doctors visually misdiagnosed herpes 20% of the time.  I don’t know about you but I’d hate to be one of those 20%!  But this just goes to show you that even professionally trained medical personnel can be human too and do make mistakes.

The bottom line is that it’s in your best interest to have a blood test completed if your diagnosis was based solely on a physical exam.

3.  Have you been diagnosed with the herpes virus but are not certain which type?

Most readers of this website already know that they have genital herpes; however, not everyone knows whether they have HSV-1 or HSV-2. Are there really any practical reasons for getting a herpes blood test to find out?

You better believe it! 

One of the primary reasons for getting a herpes blood test would be under the circumstance where both partners have been diagnosed with HSV. Since both people have already been infected with the virus, they may not assume that it’s necessary to take precautions to prevent transmitting it. However; if one partner has HSV-1 on their genitals and the other has HSV-2 (genital herpes) they could infect each other with the second type.

Another important reason to have a herpes blood test is to know which type that you have is if you have been infected with the HSV2 virus then you may have more outbreaks than if you had HSV1. Furthermore, you may be able to determine how you were infected through the process of elimination.

The following is an example; Let say you've noticed that you have blisters in your genital area and have been diagnosed with herpes. A reasonable conclusion would be to assume that you have genital herpes (HSV2) but you're not sure how you were infected since you're last partner tested negative for HSV2.

This would totally confuse me as it would probably baffle you too!  You may then decide to have a type-specific herpes blood test.  This test can help identify if you have HSV1 or HSV2. 

Now for the sake of this example you find out through a type-specific blood test that instead of having HSV2 you in fact have HSV1 in the genital area.  People usually get HSV1 on their genitals by having oral sex with someone infected with the HSV1 virus.

4.  Have you had repeated or a single negative herpes viral cultures that were suspected to be herpes by your health care provider?  This could be another reason for getting a herpes blood test.

Viral culture tests are extremely accurate for diagnosing a positive result but they are not so reliable for negatives results and they produce way too many “false-negatives”.  Since herpes viral cultures can be falsely negative, a herpes blood test should be used as a follow up test.  This is especially true if your healthcare provided was fairly certain that your condition is herpes.

5.  Have you had recurring urinary tract or bladder infections but never produces bacteria on a urine culture?

Instead of a bladder or urinary tract infection, you may be experiencing herpes blisters in the urethra. Urine is acidic and stings while passing over these open sores in the urethra.  And since HSV is a virus and doesn’t produce bacteria, the urine cultures would not show an infection.  If you are experiencing repeated pain or stinging in the urinary tract and have not found any relief using traditional treatments, then it may be worth your time to talk to your doctor about being tested for HSV.

6.  Have you ever been screened for sexually transmitted diseases?

Most responsible adults will most likely answer yes to this question but what literally blows my mind is that a typical STD screening panel does not include screening for herpes.  With nearly 50 million people having the virus you’d think that herpes would be included in the STD testing protocol.  If for any reason but to try to get control of virus and limit its reach.

If you are sexually active, there are even more reasons for getting a herpes blood test. I highly recommend that you have a STD test and a herpes test before having sex with a new partner.  Additionally, I would insist that your partner be screened too.  This way both you and your new partner will have a starting point for a healthy sex life.

7.  Are you or your partner pregnant?

Herpes is a nasty condition especially in a new born baby. All responsible soon-to-be moms should be tested for herpes as soon as practical.  Diagnosing herpes before your baby is born will help you and your doctor determine the best delivery methods to protect your new baby.

In the end there are many more reasons for getting a herpes blood test and this list is not to be considered to be all inclusive.  Only you can decide if a blood test is right for you and your situation.  When in doubt…follow my rule, Get tested!

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Learn More About Genital Herpes Diagnosis and Herpes Testing Methods

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What is a herpes blood test and is one right for you?

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