Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions

Anonymous on October 24, 2011

How much is a herpes test?

I’m thinking about getting tested for herpes, but I’m not really sure how much a herpes test costs. Can you educate me?

answered by Lisa Oldson, MD on October 24, 2011

That’s a fair question, and I’ll do my best to offer some pointers for your consideration. 

How much a herpes test costs depends on where you get tested, as well as several other factors: 

  • Insurance: Some health insurance plans cover annual STD testing while others don’t…check with your insurance to find out if you’re covered for all or part of the cost of herpes tests and other common STD tests.
  • Location: If you get tested at a doctor’s office, you (or your insurance) will pay for the test along with a possible co-pay or charge for an office visit. Some local health clinics determine the cost of STD and herpes testing on a sliding scale based on your income. And online testing services tend to charge a flat rate for specific tests. 
  • Type of test: Some less expensive herpes tests don’t differentiate between the two strains of the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 and HSV-2)...but these tests aren’t recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) because the results don’t necessarily provide a comprehensive reading of your herpes status. If you choose to test with us, we offer the Herpes Simplex Virus Type-Specific HSV-1/2 IgG blood test (also called the HSV 1/2 IgG test) starting at $149 in most states. And depending on what state you live in and what type of insurance you hold, this cost may be covered in part or in full.

Ultimately, where you choose to get tested is a personal decision...and cost is always a valid consideration. The important thing is that you’re proactive about taking care of your sexual health by getting tested for herpes and other sexually transmitted diseases through a credible testing service or other healthcare provider.  

Related info: 

Lisa Oldson, MD

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.

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