Herpes Type 2 Test (HSV-2)
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About Our Herpes Type 2 Test (HSV-2)
Note: Fasting is not required for this test.
This HerpeSelect® test detects specific antibodies that fight the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2).
The recommended window period for the HerpeSelect® Herpes Type 2 Test is:
- 4-6 weeks post potential exposure.
This herpes blood test helps determine an HSV-2 infection by detecting and measuring Immunoglobulin G (IgG). IgG is a plentiful antibody which your body will produce in order to defend itself against an infection. The IgG antibodies for HSV-2 are specific to HSV-2, so if you want to be tested for type 1 and type 2 of the herpes simplex virus, you can test for both with the HerpeSelect® Herpes Type 1 and Type 2 Tests.
The herpes simplex virus type 2 is a common incurable sexually transmitted disease (STD). HSV-2 can be contracted during oral, vaginal, or anal sex, as it can be spread from inflected bodily fluids like vaginal fluid, semen, saliva, herpes lesions, sores, or blister fluid. The herpes virus type 2 most commonly causes genital herpes. However, like HSV-1, it can be contracted both orally and genitally. Genital herpes can be spread to an infant during childbirth and affect the baby’s skin, eyes, mouth, and central nervous system. This can be severe and sometimes deadly, so knowing your status can help in taking protective measures during pregnancy and delivery.
Although consistent, correct use of latex or polyurethane condoms can help lower the risk of transmission, it is still possible to contract herpes during protected sex. This is because herpes can be spread from skin-to-skin contact with an infected partner, so the area not protected by the condom can become infected. It is possible to have herpes and not have symptoms, as everyone reacts differently to a viral infection. The virus also goes through dormant stages. It is still possible to contract herpes if your partner shows no symptoms. In a process called shedding, cells that contain the virus are dropped from the skin.
How do I get tested for herpes simplex virus type 2?
This HerpeSelect® test is a simple, routine blood draw from your arm. This test will look for HSV-2 antibodies in your blood sample, meaning there is no undressing needed. Unlike a swab test, this blood test will be able to detect an infection regardless of if you have symptoms. In addition, this blood test differs from a viral culture test, which requires the virus to be active and can yield an inaccurate false negative if the lesion is small or starting to heal. Our HSV-2 antibody blood test can detect a herpes infection even if there are no visible symptoms.
How accurate is the herpes type 2 blood test?
This test will be 97-99% accurate between 4-6 weeks post exposure and will remain 99% accurate after 6 weeks.
Can you test negative for herpes and still have it?
Yes, it takes time for your body to develop detectable antibodies after an infection, which is why you should wait at least 4-6 weeks after your potential exposure before testing. If taken at the recommended window period, our HSV-2 test is highly accurate. As everyone reacts differently to a viral infection, it can take certain people between 3 weeks to 6 months. Retesting can ensure your results are as accurate as possible.
HSV-2 symptoms can include:
- Sores or blisters around the vaginal area, vulva, or cervix, on the penis, or around the butt, anus, and thighs
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Itching or tingling
How do you treat herpes type 2?
Unfortunately, there is no herpes 2 cure. If infected, an individual will carry the virus for the rest of their life. That being said, antiviral treatment helps manage the duration and intensity of symptoms for those who experience outbreaks. Also, herpes outbreaks frequency will often times decrease as time goes on and can stop happening over time. When there is an active outbreak, risk of transmission increases. Protection like condoms and dental dams can also help reduce (though not eliminate) the risk of transmission.