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Herpes Type 1 & 2 Panel (HSV-1 / HSV-2)

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About Our Herpes Type 1 & 2 Panel (HSV-1 / HSV-2)

This HerpeSelect® blood test is used to detect both Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 and Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2) by searching for antibodies to the viruses. HSV-1 and HSV-2 both cause oral and genital herpes. These tests measure Immunoglobulin G (IgG), the most abundant type of antibody. IgG is found in all body fluids and protects against bacterial and viral infections.

The recommended minimum window period for the Herpes Type 1 and Herpes Type 2 panel is: 

  • 4-6 weeks post potential exposure.

If you're looking to test for HSV-1 or HSV-2 separately, we also sell those tests on their own. 

What are Herpes Type 1 and Herpes Type 2?

The herpes simplex virus (HSV), commonly known as herpes, is an extremely common, incurable virus that causes sores on your mouth and/or genital area. There are two versions of herpes simplex known as herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2).

What is the Difference Between Herpes Type 1 and Herpes Type 2?

While both strains of herpes cause similar symptoms, HSV-1 is the more common of the two and tends to be acquired during childhood. This one typically lives and causes sore outbreaks around the mouth and is known as “oral herpes,” even though it is possible for HSV-1 to affect the genital region. Contrary to popular belief, the sores it causes around the mouth are one and the same as “cold sores.”

HSV-2 is often referred to as “genital herpes,” but this strain of herpes can affect the oral region, although this is uncommon. Genital herpes often causes lesions around the genitals and anus.

Oral herpes is typically transmitted to the genital region through oral sex, and vice versa can happen, meaning you can get genital herpes in the mouth, also usually through oral sex.

What are Herpes Symptoms?

The majority of people that carry HSV-1 and/or HSV-2 are not experiencing symptoms (asymptomatic) and therefore are unaware they carry the virus. When symptoms do occur, they can be flu-like symptoms but almost always consist of painful, fluid-filled sores. After the initial outbreak of blisters from acquiring the virus, which can range from mild to severe, the outbreaks will gradually happen less and less until they stop completely.

Oral herpes symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Muscle aches
  • Irritability
  • Pain/Tingling/Burning/Itching at the infection site
  • Cold sores/Fever blisters
  • Bumps/Pimple-like lesions
  • Sore inside mouth/throat/nose
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Swollen/bleeding gums

Genital herpes symptoms include:

  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Small blisters/sores on genitals/buttocks/upper thighs/rectal area or even inside the urethra
  • Itching/Tingling in genitals/anal region
  • Painless red, raw/cracked area around genitals
  • Backache

How to Test for HSV-1 and HSV-2?

All you have to do is provide a blood sample at your lab of choice. Because this test looks at your blood and is not a swab, you do not need to be experiencing an outbreak to receive accurate results. The test looks at the blood sample for IgG antibodies specific to HSV-1 and HSV-2 to confirm or rule out possible infection. As per CDC guidelines, tests with results that are right at the “positive” threshold or are a “low” positive will be tested again to ensure accurate results.

Unfortunately, there is no way to identify the location of the infection, so all any test can tell you is which strain of HSV was found but not if it’s in the genital or oral region.

If you have never experienced symptoms and receive positive results, that is considered a primary asymptomatic infection. These types of infections are common, causing people more psychological stress by a positive result than actual physical stress since the infection is not causing symptoms.

About Our Walk-In Lab Testing

You do not have to make an appointment to go to the lab of your choice. You can walk into the lab the same day of your purchase or any other day at your earliest convenience. Once there, you can expect to check in and wait a few minutes until you’re called to the back by the technician. They will ask for your order slip and from there complete the blood draw. It only takes about 5 minutes, then you are all set to go.

How is Herpes Transmitted?

Herpes easily spreads through skin-to-skin contact with someone who has the virus. This means whether or not ejaculation was involved does not affect the likelihood of spreading herpes.

Many people acquire HSV-1 through kissing or being kissed by a relative when they are children. You can get it in non-sexual ways as well such as sharing drinks, food utensils, or generally sharing anything that gets near mucous membranes or the area of a recent outbreak. A mother can pass genital herpes to a baby during vaginal childbirth, although that is uncommon. The highest risk of transmission is during an outbreak where sores and blisters are present. Touching these sores can easily transmit the virus to another person. The areas that cause the most herpes infections and outbreaks are the skin around your genitals, mouth, and eyes.

How is HSV-1/HSV-2 Treated?

Unfortunately, due to its complicated DNA structure, there is currently no cure for herpes. You can be prescribed antiviral medication to help lower the intensity, duration, and frequency of outbreaks. These medications also make it less likely that you will transmit the virus to a partner.

What do the Results Mean?

  • A positive result means the presence of IgG antibodies to HSV-1/HSV-2 was found.
  • A negative result means the presence of IgG antibodies to HSV-1/HSV-2 was not found.

All STD Tests

Medically Reviewed by: 2019-03-12

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