A blood test for herpes is better than a viral culture, physical exam or other antigen tests for determining if someone has a genital herpes infection. A blood test is simply the best herpes testing method available for someone who is not currently having any visible or physical signs and symptoms of an outbreak.
During a blood test, a search for the herpes virus antibody is conducted. Antibodies are produced by the body’s immune system for the purpose of fighting the body’s infections.
If a healthy person becomes infected with the herpes virus their body will begin to develop antibodies to help the body fight the infection. An antibody is produced by the body’s immune systems and is produced to fight an infection that may enter the body. The herpes virus antibody is also a protein that will usually turn up in the blood after an extended amount of time after a person first becomes infected.
Once the antibodies have developed then diagnosing whether someone has herpes or not is quickly done by a herpes blood test. The blood tests can detect herpes simplex virus (HSV) antibodies even if you have no symptoms of genital herpes. If the herpes antibody is found then the test is deemed to be positive.
If you want an accurate herpes test result then it is very important that you wait long enough for your body to develop the antibodies. Since every person’s body reacts differently to the herpes virus, the amount of time varies from a few weeks to a few months. It is generally recommended to wait three to four months after you have been possibly infected.
Unfortunately, not all herpes blood test can distinguish between the herpes virus 1 (virus that causes cold sores) and the herpes virus 2 (the virus that causes genital blisters). Many older blood tests for herpes are still on the market, and many labs still use these tests because they are widely available and inexpensive.
Because the herpes antibodies can take weeks to form in the blood, a false-negative blood test result is probable.
A False-positive blood test result is possible, too. If you test positive and you have low risk factors you should consider having another test.
It is extremely hard to pinpoint the exact date when the herpes infection may have occurred. You may have had the herpes virus for years before you have your herpes blood test.
New blood test for herpes are seen to be the most exciting breakthroughs in recent years for herpes diagnosis. The new tests involve the development of new type-specific blood tests. These tests were developed to accurately identify the specific type of herpes virus that a person may have been infected.
This is exciting because previous blood tests for herpes could not tell the difference between the herpes simplex virus type 1 or the herpes simplex virus type 2. This is a significant development because a person could have tested positive for either cold sore virus or genital herpes virus using older tests. These older genital herpes blood tests were not reliable because a person could be told they had HSV 2 (which is almost always genital herpes) when really they had HSV 1 (still most often the cold sore virus).
Type-Specific Serologic Tests (TSST) that do distinguish between the two herpes viruses (HSV-1 and HSV-2)with a high degree of certainty. The new accurate tests are based on the detection of two proteins, Glycoprotein gG-1 and glycoprotein gG-2.
Glycoprotein gG-1 is only found on the outside of the herpes simplex virus 1 or in cells infected with herpes simplex virus 1 as the virus is produced in the body. The other protein is glycoprotein gG-2 and is found on the herpes simplex type 2 virus or in cells infected with HSV-2.
Although these proteins have similar names they are different enough that the antibodies that are produced for one type of herpes virus cannot be mistaken for the other type in the new serology genital herpes blood tests. In other words, these antibodies can only react to one of the herpes viruses but not both.
As was common in older blood tests for herpes, the TSST do not mistakenly detect antibodies from other herpes viruses such as varicella zoster (chicken pox), Epstein Barr, or mononucleosis.
The newer blood test for herpes are roughly one-fifth the cost of the older and less accurate Western Blot and are much faster and easier to administer.
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