A herpes test involves a physical examination, in which a physician examines your blood or tissue samples to find possible HSV antibodies.
- “HSV” stands for “herpes simplex virus,” of which there are two types:
- HSV-1: causes cold sores or fever blisters.
- HSV-2: causes genital herpes.
What a Herpes Test Will Tell You
Many people who contract the HSV virus will show no symptoms for the first few days. In some cases, the symptoms won’t show up for weeks, months or even years.
However, when an outbreak does occur, the symptoms can be extremely painful, including:
• Headaches, fatigue or backaches.
• Blisters that turn into painful sores
• Symptoms that resemble the flu.
• Cracked or raw genital areas.
• Swollen lymph nodes.
While these seem like distinct symptoms, it’s important to know that they’re often mistaken for the symptoms of other illnesses such as:
• Vaginal infections
• Bladder infections
• Bacterial infections
This is why a herpes test is important. Even if you have no symptoms, or suspect that you might be suffering from one of the above infections, it’s important to get a herpes test and find out what you’re really dealing with.
Is Herpes Treatable?
Genital herpes is incurable, but the symptoms are very treatable. This can make a world of difference for someone living with HSV-2. Outbreaks can occur four to five times a year and can be painful, embarrassing and extremely disruptive.
While there are no cures, the treatments can still reduce the occurrence of outbreaks, mitigate the symptoms and help you to keep from spreading the virus to others.
How to Get a Herpes Test
Since herpes is spread through sexual contact with infected persons and since the virus enters the body through the skin, any prolonged contact with an infected person can put you at risk.
Also, since the virus travels along your nervous system and can lie dormant for long periods of time without showing symptoms, it’s easy to come into contact with someone who doesn’t even know that they have it.
How Common is Herpes?
The American Sexual Health Association reports that it occurs in approximately one out of eight people between the ages of 14 and 49.
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