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There are two types of tests to determine if you have either type 1 or type 2 or the Herpes simplex viruses (HSV). These tests are:
Taking a swab test from a genital sore is the only way to accurately diagnose genital herpes.
If people go to their doctor when a genital sore is not present, a swab test cannot be used for diagnosis.
Blood tests may help to make the diagnosis, but the results can be difficult to interpret.
A blood test does not detect the virus itself.
The herpes blood test cannot tell:
A blood test for herpes is a test for antibodies, which are produced by the immune system when we are infected with HSV. A blood test tells whether you have ever been infected with the herpes virus. It cannot tell when you became infected.
Swab tests are only accurate when whilst you have a sore.
For blood tests, it may take between six and eight weeks to detect antibodies in your blood after first becoming infected with HSV. Also, antibodies may disappear with time, especially if the person has infrequent recurrences of herpes.
Negative results for either type 1 or type 2 HSV mean the person has not been infected with either virus in the past.
A positive blood test simply indicates that the person has been infected with type 1 or type 2 HSV (or both) some time in the past.
For more information on HIV testing, contact Adelaide Sexual Health Centre.