Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions
How do I test for herpes?
I’m think I should get tested for herpes, but I don’t know what’s available. How do I test for herpes?
Lisa Oldson, MD on November 22, 2011
I’m glad you asked this question, and I’m pleased to offer you some information about herpes testing.
The Herpes Simplex Virus Type-Specific HSV-1/2 IgG blood test that we offer detects antibodies to herpes in your blood. If you have active signs or symptoms of herpes (including blisters or sores), it’s ideal to get examined by your doctor. But if you don’t want to see your doctor, or if you aren’t currently experiencing and indication of infection, the blood test is the best way to get screened for herpes.
How do I get a herpes test? If you choose to test with us, you’ll provide a blood sample at one of our local licensed labs. (You won’t need to undress.) When your results are available, usually within 3 business days, we’ll notify you by e-mail. Then you can log-in to view your private and confidential herpes test results. If you happen to have a positive test result, a phone consultation with one of our doctors is included in your testing package.
Keep in mind that it’s typically best to wait 4-6 weeks after being exposed to herpes before taking this test to ensure accurate results. For more on this, you can consult our Testing Windows Guide.
If you currently do have open sores, your doctor can test for herpes with a swab test. This test needs to be done at a doctor’s office to see if herpes is the cause of your sores. If you’re diagnosed with herpes, your doctor can also help you treat the infection.
Dr. Oldson is Medical Director of the Analyte Physicians Group. She is on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as Clinical Instructor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Her areas of expertise include STDs (with a particular clinical emphasis on herpes), women's health, preventive medicine, diabetes, obesity and weight management, and mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Oldson was educated at Rush Medical College and completed her residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, IL.