Herpes Diagnosis

Herpes Diagnosis: How to Get Tested for Herpes

Since most people with genital herpes have few, infrequent or even NO noticeable symptoms, it can be difficult to know whether or not you have genital herpes. The herpes pictures that you might find on the internet are of extremely rare worst cases, and give a false impression of what most people with herpes experience – which is usually hardly noticeable.  For the great majority of people with herpes, their symptoms are so mild or infrequent – or not at all – that their herpes is never diagnosed!  PLEASE DO NOT ASSUME –  that just because you don’t see any sores or feel sick or don’t notice any particular symptoms – that you don’t have herpes or any other STD. You may be very wrong!

And for goodness sake – DO NOT ASSUME that your doctor already tested you for herpes!  Most doctors NEVER test their patients for herpes, even when they are testing you for other STD’s.  That’s right – most doctors do NOT include a herpes test their patients – UNLESS YOU ASK SPECIFICALLY FOR A HERPES BLOOD TEST.

The best way to diagnose herpes when you are not having symptoms is to request a herpes blood test. Or if you are having an active outbreak – then immediately go to the doctor to get a herpes lab culture AND a herpes blood test.  You must SPECIFICALLY REQUEST that your doctor give you a herpes blood test and a herpes lab culture – or else your doctor might just do a visual inspection and may easily misdiagnose herpes as something else – such as jock itch, a yeast infection, or rough sex.  When your symptoms go away – usually within a few days to a few weeks, you may not even realize that you just experienced a herpes outbreak.

Unfortunately, most doctors still do NOT include a test for herpes during routine STD testing for their patients.  This may be because herpes is so common and they don’t consider herpes to be a serious, life-threatening condition. There is also speculation that some medical plans and insurance providers may discourage doctors from testing for herpes so that they will not have to prescribe potentially expensive drugs to the estimated 50% or likely more of their patients who would potentially test positive for HSV-1 and/or HSV-2.  So unless you SPECIFICALLY ASK your doctor to give you a blood test for herpes, it is unlikely that you or your friends or partners have ever been tested.   So start asking specifically for a herpes blood test.  And sometimes your doctor will even push back and tell you that you don’t need a Herpes Blood Test or give you another reason why they don’t want to give you a Herpes Blood Test.  This may be because your doctor is not up-to-date and doesn’t know about the newer, very accurate herpes blood tests.  Read on for more info.

Herpes Lab Cultures

Many doctors and health care professionals are not  up-to-date about herpes diagnosis and will tell you that the only way to  accurately diagnose whether or not you have the genital herpes virus is by  taking a swab from an active herpes sore or lesion and sending it to the lab for a culture test.   However, this only works if the patient’s sore is fairly new or else the virus may no longer be active on the skin.  If you get a Herpes Lab Culture and it comes out negative, you may still have genital herpes.  Because most herpes outbreaks are short and mild, and because most people have few, mild or even NO outbreaks, we highly recommend taking a herpes blood test when no active sores or lesions are present, and in ADDITION to a Herpes Lab Culture when there is a sore present.

Herpes Blood Tests

Many out-of-date doctors will tell you that there are no reliable blood tests for herpes that can accurately distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2.  These doctors *used to* be right.   And some  of the old, inaccurate blood tests are still out there.   But medicine has made great strides, and since 1999, there are several NEW IgG blood  tests now available that DO very accurately distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2 and are 97-100%  ACCURATE, if taken no earlier than 12-16 weeks after your possible exposure to the virus.

Since some doctors  and clinics are still using the older, inaccurate blood tests. Always make sure to find out the name of the  company and test that your doctor or lab is ordering for herpes blood  tests, and make sure it is one of the tests on the “good” list and not one of the tests on the “bad” list.

Herpes Blood Test Guide

Click here to see the list of recommended, highly accurate Herpes Blood Tests – Herpes Blood Test Guide from the American Association of Social Health (ASHA.org).  Give a copy to your doctor to make sure they are in the know!

Some of the Good  Herpes Blood Tests include:

If your doctor sends you to Quest Diagnostics or LabCorp to get a blood test for herpes, make sure the test they order is from this list:

Quest Diagnostics
HerpeSelect HSV-2 ELISA: 3640x
HerpeSelect HSV-1 ELISA: 3636x
HSV-1 and HSV-2 together: 6447x
Western Blot: 34534

Captia HSV-2 ELISA: 163147
Captia HSV-1 ELISA: 164897
Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 together: 164905

Codes may vary by facility; confirm code with lab before ordering.

Old, Innacurate Blood Tests List

Here is a list of some of the old, inaccurate Herpes Blood Tests and their names.  Make sure your doctor is NOT using one of these:
– Diasorin,  Herpes 1 or 2 IgG Clin-ELISATM, Stillwater, MN
– Zeus, HSV-1 and/or HSV-2 ELISA Test System, Raritan, NJ
– Sigma, Herpes 1-IgG, Herpes 2-IgG, St Louis, MO
– Wampole Labs, HSV-1 IgG ELISA, HSV-2 IgG ELISA,  Cranbury, NJ

For more info on good and bad herpes blood tests, please read this excerpt from the Ebook, “The Good News About The Bad News” by Herpes Expert, Terri Warren, RN.

Planned Parenthood Confidential Herpes Testing

If you do not have health insurance, you can  sometimes get a type-specific herpes blood test done at local public health  clinics funded by your city, county or state.  Check your local listings for the  public health clinic near you.  Unfortunately, not all public health clinics do type-specific herpes blood tests, so you might want to call first before making  the trip. In many cities,  Planned Parenthood  also offers inexpensive herpes blood tests or it may be free under some circumstances.  Additional donations are always welcome.

Private Confidential Herpes Testing Services Online

In most states, you can order  your own CONFIDENTIAL blood tests for STDs including herpes by using services like STDTestExpress.com,* HealthCheckUSA.com , TSTD.org or GetSTDtested.com. Most of these services use the HerpeSelect tests from Focus Diagnostics. The Type-Specific HSV-1 and HSV-2 IgG test panels usually cost between $90-$149.  This fee includes the laboratory testing, preparation of  the order, physician supervision of ordering and interpretation of the results,  pre-test counseling, post-test counseling, and any confirmatory testing that may  be required. You enter your zip code and it will tell you all the local labs  near you which will do the tests.  You must sign up for the tests online and  your credit card will be charged before you go to the lab. These companies also  offer tests for other STD’s which you may or may not want to take.  Your results  are confidential and are not part of your regular medical records.


You must WAIT AT LEAST  12-16 WEEKS after you were exposed to herpes, in order to give the virus  antibodies enough time to develop in your blood stream. Otherwise the blood tests may  not be accurate.

Herpes Diagnosis Links:

American Social Health Association (ASHA) – Herpes Resource Center 

ASHA Herpes Blood Test Guide PDF

ASHA Herpes Testing Toolkit PDF

Centers for Disease Control – Genital Herpes – CDC Fact Sheet

Western Blot Test – the most accurate herpes blood test – University or Washington Virology Dept.
http://depts.washington.edu/herpes/faq.php 206-598-6066

*See Disclosures.

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There is no such thing as “classic herpes symptoms.” Many people with genital herpes have no noticeable symptoms or very mild and infrequent symptoms. Most people who have genital herpes don’t even know it because they have not been tested and they think that an absence of symptoms means that they don’t have herpes. A type specific herpes blood test taken 12-16 weeks after exposure is the best way to diagnose herpes. Most doctors don’t include a herpes blood test when they are testing their patients for other STD’s – unless you ask specifically for a herpes blood test.

To get help and more answers for your herpes questions, please join one of the many local and online herpes support groups listed at

Good luck!


I have so much to explain please help me I’m so miserable and depressed!!!!!!!! I test positive for herpes…just herpes the Dr said in a culture. Blood work was negative …they said all the blood work was less than .9 whatever than means! Since then I been on valtrex 1 gram a day for suppression and now I noticed some red like “blotches”. They don’t hurt at all they dony itch. I went to Dr and he said I’m being paranoid and told me I was ” irritated ” and told me to use some balmex….I did n sense then I noticed more red patches. Never. So called full blown lession as what I bddn reading “classic ” herpes. I’m still confused as to weather I have hsv1 or 2. And if so I read on the internet that hsv1 gh doesn’t usy reoccur I been married 12 years and I have not cheated so I’m very confused and very depressed!!!:(((( please please please help me?!


If you have had sex with new partners between getting STD tests, then yes, you should always request the blood test for HSV2 just to make sure what you have or do not have. Most people will test positive for HSV-1. But it does not mean that you can’t also get HSV-2. Good luck.


There is usually some margin of error for the herpes blood tests, depending on which test is ordered. Next time, request a Polymerase Chain Reaction test, which seems to be able to detect smaller amounts of the herpes virus. “Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. A PCR test can be done on cells or fluid from a sore or on blood or on other fluid, such as spinal fluid. PCR finds the genetic material (DNA) of the HSV virus. This test can tell the difference between HSV-1 and HSV-2.” If all else fails, request the Western Blot type 1 and type 2 HSV test from University of Washington Virology Department. It costs a bit more than the other tests, but it is the “gold standard” for herpes testing. Your insurance may not cover it, though. You can still get the test if you pay out of your own pocket. Terri Warren RN of Westover Heights Clinic in Portland, OR may be able to order this test for you if your regular doctor will not. Good luck!


So I had unprotected sex in April and one day in July, I freaked out with an itchiness and burning around my mouth but no noticeable blisters and a tiny fluid filled blister in my mouth that I popped. I got test 13 weeks from my interaction for herpes simplex type 1 and type 2 igg type specific. Both of them came back negative. But then just yesterday I had a same burning and itching on my lips. Could it be that I have such a mild case of it the virus would be undetectable? I’m just so worried that I would pass this on to someone else and I don’t ever want to do that. I will find my own life in abstinence and singleness if must be. I just want some answers. Oh and I’ve also had chronic itchiness in the genital area. I’ve had every STD tests done and everything came back negative. I feel like I’m at a stump in the road.


I tested positive for HSV-1 and negative for HSV-2. The next time I was tested for HIV/STD, my doctor did not test for herpes because I already tested positive for HSV-1. Should I request my doctor to test for HSV-2 when I get tested again?


60-80% of adults in the USA have HSV-1 orally or genitally. This includes YOU. You may already have HSV-1 orally or genitally, but don’t know it. This is because HSV-1 usually does not cause serious symptoms and most doctors DO NOT TEST their patients for either type of herpes unless you specially ask them for the test.

If you are worried that a person you kissed has HSV-1, you are pretty much talking about most of the people you know. Your mom, your dad, your sisters, your brothers, your friends and relatives, and most of your past kissing partners – 60-80% of them have HSV-1. And you might too. If most people already have HSV-1, and it causes so few symptoms, this is not something that you should be scared about. But for heaven’s sake, get a type-specific herpes test from your doctor. Know what you have or don’t have. And if you don’t have HSV-1, just know that you’re still no better or worse than anyone who does have it. It’s extremely common and you have certainly already kissed plenty of people who have it.


Hello I was wondering can you catch h1
If the person have no cold sores or any outbreaks. Can you get herpes if you used a condom with a person? The person does not answer my calls for me to even know is status.. I never had a cold sore. I kissed him but did not see anything on his lips or above it. I need help!!


It might technically be *possible* to spread HSV1 to other areas, but the likelihood (the relative chance of this happening) depends on you and your partner’s health and practices. You should speak directly to a doctor about your specific situation to get a better answer to your question. Good luck. DWH


If me & my partner both have HSV1 with outbreaks on specific genital areas everytime, can we spread the outbreaks to other areas?


If your blood test came out positive for HSV1 and/or HSV2, then you have herpes. Most people have no noticeable symptoms so they don’t even know they have it. Culture tests very often come back negative, even if you have herpes, because at the time they take the sample, there may not be enough virus present on the skin to show up in a culture. A Pap Smear tests do not have anything to do with herpes. Pap smears test for HPV, not HSV. The best way to know whether or not you have herpes is by taking a blood test, and if it was positive, then you have herpes. You were not just “exposed”- which is something doctors sometimes say if you have the virus, but no noticeable symptoms. Whether or not you have noticeable symptoms you may occasionally have the virus shedding from your skin, and could possibly spread it to another person. Most people get genital herpes through sexual contact with someone else who has herpes – usually when no signs or symptoms are present. You should take a look at our information on Herpes Treatment and Preventing Transmission. Good luck. DWH

Jane Doe

I’ve been to my OB/gyn three times in the past year and a half for bloodwork, cultures, and papsmears. My bloodwork came out positive but the cultures and papsmears were negative every time. Does the number (i.e. 3.50) mean the chances are higher of actually carrying the virus? I’ve never had any symptoms and any time I thought there might have been one, I rushed to get a culture done. Everything else, besides bloodwork, still comes out negative. Can herpes antibodies in the system be confused for something else when bloodwork is taken and done?

One other question, is it possible to still have a normal, healthy pregnancy and not pass on the virus to the unborn child while it is in the womb and when it leaves?

Are there any other clinics, other than Planned Parenthood, that may do testing for free or at a discounted price?


Herpes symptoms are not always typical and can vary from person to person. Some people never have notoiceable sores, but they can still spread the herpes virus to a partner. Many doctors (not just patients) mistake herpes for yeast infections. It’s possible that one or both of you already had herpes before you slept together and just didn’t know it. Most likely, you have never ever been tested for genital herpes because most doctors do not include that test when they are testing patients for other common STD’s. The best thing to do is for BOTH of you to get a type-specific herpes blood test NOW. If you test positive, then you likely already had herpes before you met this partner. If you test negative, you should get tested again in 12-16 weeks after exposure to allow enough of the herpes virus to show up in a blood test. If you test negative now and positive later, then your infection is relatively new and you got it from one of your latest partners. Get tested now to find out. See our page on Herpes Diagnosis to learn more about Herpes Blood Tests.


Its all so confusing! i had unprotected sex with two people in a 3 week period *Bad and will never again happen! Ok i digress, : i had what looking like chafing , that was barely noticable but some tingling was present, my partner came back with having bacterial vaginosis and itchy yeast infection but no sores present within 3 days my chafing has vanished , she is still itchy ….. I dont see how i can know what this is… I doubt a first outbreak would leave in 3 days and look so mild? how can i be tested nothing really to swab? My gut tells me after hard hard sex with my partner she was bacteria infection and it rubbed on my penis and created raised skin. I sucks i would rather have something that i know is there than all these variablities
I never had a sores with fluid, i never had any flue like symptoms, some itchiness and tingly but it was more of an awareness.. the tests seem like i have to wait 14 weeks? there is no way of knowing? at this point can herepes come on as some tiny bit of raised skin and dissapear in 3 days on a first episode? she also has no bumps just itchyness and discharge


Do not try to diagnose yourself on the internet. Your outbreaks could be a lot of things – maybe an allergy. If you want to find out for sure what it is, then see your doctor next time you get an outbreak and have them swab the area and do a culture test to find out what it is or is not. Tell the doctor you suspect it might be herpes and make sure they test the sample for it. Remember – this will only be useful to rule herpes in or out if the outbreak is new/active, not a few days old. If the sore is already starting to crust over, then the you might not have enough “active” substance left to grow in a culture test to be accurate.


Can anyone tell me if u can get H- on your hand legs over all body. I break out with these sore that are like a lil pimple and then they become bigger, itch like Hell leaves scars. Im about ready to get tatoo’s on me. Ive been suffering over twenty five yrs from a high school friend that didn’t tell me about it.


If you take one of the newer, very accurate Herpes Blood Tests such as the HerpeSelect IgG blood test (do the one that tests for both HSV1 AND HSV2) then it should be pretty accurate. The length of time that you have herpes may reduce your incidence of visible external outbreaks, but it the level of antibodies in your blood, which is what the test is for, should still register in the positive range, if your initial diagnosis was correct. Make sure you and your doctor both KNOW the name of the test and the company that made the test that you took, and make sure it’s on the list of GOOD herpes blood tests from ASHA that is linked to on our Herpes Diagnosis Page. Good luck!


I’ve had herpes for more than 20 years, at least I think I have (based on a doctors assessment years ago). My understanding is that an IgG test will find antibodies for HSV2. Will the fact I have had herpes for so long compromise an IgG test? If an IgG test comes back negative can I assume it’s accurate and that I do not have HSV2, or is it just inconclusive?


Find out exactly which kind of herpes blood test you got the first time. You need to know the name of the Company that manufactures the test, and the exact name of the test. It doesn’t matter if you got your blood drawn at Quest Diagnostics or LabCorp – those are the blood-draw facilities and not the manufacturers of the tests. Make sure you are getting one of the tests on ASHA’s list of good, accurate herpes blood tests. Click on that link and download the PDF file and give it to your doctor. If your doctor cannot find the name of the test they gave you on this list – then you may have gotten one of the old, less accurate herpes blood tests that are still on the market. Make sure you get one of the good herpes blood tests on this list! Also, did anyone tell you the “type” of HSV that was found on your swab culture? They should be able to tell you if it was HSV-1 or HSV-2. If they did not tell you which “number” type of herpes you had, then you need to go back and ask for that info. If your blood test is an IgG type-specific herpes blood test that can differentiate between HSV-1 and HSV-2, then you’ll probably get the answers you need. Just because you have genital herpes does not mean that it’s HSV-2. It might be HSV-1. It helps to know!

Good Luck.



I tested positive for genital H in Feb 2012 had all the classic signs, but was unsure if it was herepes before the swab test. But swab was positve, i have been reading things about blood test so i decided to also get a blood test taken to be sure so when i presented my soon to be partner with the positive blood test info we would know how to handle it or he could then become more educated about it and i could start therapy. The blood test was this month (Aug 2012) so about 6 months after the swab test. The blood test results came out negative for genital herpes. I’m very confused on what test to believe. I am going to get a 2nd blood test to make sure. But if it comes back negative again what do I do? Which is more accurate. I do not want to act as if I’m negative and chance giving it to any one. Help please.


There is more information on the PCR tests on the website of Teri Warren, RN, a herpes expert and owner of Westover Heights Clinic in Portland OR, at http://www.westoverheigts.com. If the ASHA information is old, we will update the infortation on this site.

Just because you might have HSV1 and/or HSV2 in a blood test, that does not tell you anything about WHERE you might have outbreaks, or how often, or not at all. It just means that you do have the virus in your system and it could lead to a noticeable outbreak, or even with no noticeable outbreak, you might shed the virus occasionally from wherever the virus travels down your nerve endings. HSV1 usually happens around the mouth, but due to the popularity of oral sex, more and more people are getting HSV1 below the waist. About 30% of herpes infections below the waist are HSV1. HSV2 is usually below the waist and in very rare occasions, around the mouth. Only YOU know where you have had any noticeable outbreaks, if any. The majority of people with HSV1 and/or HSV2 have no major outbreaks either orally or genitally and don’t even know they have herpes. However, they are able to spread herpes to their partners, via asymptomatic shedding of the virus, from whatever part of their body might be affected without their knowledge.

Most people with herpes (HSV1 or HSV2) don’t know it because most doctors don’t bother to include a test for it when they are testing patients for other STD’s. Most people will test positive for HSV1 because 50-80% of us acquire this as children via kissing. Many people get “cold sores” from HSV1, but don’t realize this is a variety of herpes. And most people don’t know that it can be transmitted to a partner via oral sex. But the symptoms are the same as HSV2, which is most often associated with genital herpes. About 20% of women have HSV2, and most don’t know it and don’t have noticeable outbreaks. Some people, unfortunately, have more frequent or painful outbreaks, and that happens to a minority of the people who have herpes. You cannot predict how herpes will affect you vs. another person. You may have very different experiences.

Read this site thoroughly – http://www.datingwithherpes.org – and join a local herpes social or support group in your area to get more information.



Hi, thank you for your reply. It means a lot to me that I can get help through the internet.

I called the mayo medical laboratories myself and spoke with customer service and they said that the blood work to test for hsv1 and hsv2 was used with PCR (polymerase chain reaction). If I understood correctly, they told me they used the blood sample and culture sample (of the small fluid-filled blister I had) and used the PCR to test it. I’ve read numerous other websites regarding the PCR, and correct me if I’m wrong, but they said the PCR is the new “gold standard” test with more accuracy for HSV 1&2. I’m still confused about who the supplier was when I asked customer service. I am hoping I got a really accurate labwork done because I don’t see PCR anywhere on that ashastd.org chart. But the last revision was 2009 for that chart, and it’s 2012 now, so I don’t know if they just didn’t get a chance to add in “PCR”.

I have another question:
If I end up having HSV1 in the genital, will I keep getting gential herpes type 1 possibly throughout my life? Or does it go to it’s site of preference, which is the mouth region? I am assuming that is what happens, just because HSV1 is known as cold sores, and HSV2 is known as gential herpes. It just doesn’t make sense to me that I would keep having HSV1 in the genitals throughout my life.


The information you provided has only the name of the lab that performed the tests – but you did not provide the actual name of the Company and name of the test – such as HerpeSelect from Focus Diagnostics. Usually, it takes 12-16 weeks from exposure for herpes antibodies to show up in a blood test. That’s why you need to go back and be retested in a month – or maybe it would be better to wait 2 months. Here is a list of the “good herpes blood tests”. Bring it to your doctor and ask them to identify which test(s) from this list that they are giving you. If they can’t figure that out, then you need to see another doctor.


I just recently got newly diagnosed with herpes, but don’t know which strain; 1 or 2. The CULTURE WAS POSITIVE, and the bloodwork was negative. I have the result info as shown below:

HSV Types 1 and 2 Ab, S
HSV Type 1 Ab, IgG, S Negative Negative
HSV Type 2 Ab, IgG, S Negative Negative
HSV Ab Screen,IgM, S by EIA Negative Negative
The performance of this assay has not been established
for use in neonates, infants or on cord blood.
Test performed at/or referred by:
Mayo Medical Laboratories
200 First Street SW
Rochester, MN 55905

I have NO IDEA if these labworks is considered the “good kind”. I was really hoping you would be able to tell me based on this info above. I have an appt with my gyno next week and I want to be prepared with all questions and if I need to re-order the bloodwork using the updated better labworks as you stated. She said it can take about a month to get a repeat bloodwork to find out if it’s strain 1 or 2.
There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding reliability on labwork, and it’s so overwhelming on top of being scared, sad, and feeling like a leper. I know I shouldn’t say that, but I can’t help it right now…

ps- DWH, are you in the healthcare field? Just curious. Thank you in advance…


Since you think you took the same test twice, but the results were not consistent, it makes sense to get tested yet again. Try one of the other “good” herpes blood tests next time – not HerpeSelect, and then compare the new results with your previous test. The “Western Blot” herpes blood test is the “gold standard” and although more expensive, it would be worth taking so that you have the best information available. DWH


Thanks for the advice. Both tests were type specific IGG Herpeselect AB tests. I’m not sure which company manufactures them though. I have a printout of the most recent test but not of the first. I believe the first test had a result of ~1.5 and the new test has a result of 0.55. If these were both “good” tests. How should I interpret the results and proceed with disclosing / retesting?
Thanks again!


Unfortunately, it’s possible that your doctor ordered one of the “bad” (unreliable) herpes blood tests and not one of the “good” (very reliable) herpes blood tests that are listed on this site. You need to ask your doctor for the full name of the herpes blood tests that you were given previously and more recently and compare them to the list of “Good Herpes Blood Tests” found on this page. Your doctor will need to provide you with the name of the Company that manufactures the test (i.e. Trinity Biotech, etc) and the specific name of the test (i.e. HerpeSelect IgG Elisa, Captia or whatever). If your doctor can’t give you this information, then get the test results and look for the info or any “test numbers” or “codes” that might give you a clue. The testing facility/lab (i.e. the hospital, LabOne or Quest Diagnostics} should be able to tell you which test was ordered. If your doctor and the lab cannot tell you the complete name of the test that was ordered, then you don’t know if your test was accurate or not. If this is the case, time to get a new doctor who can order a new test and make sure to give them the list of the “good tests” from this site. You can also order your own confidential herpes blood tests from one of the Private STD Testing Services listed on this page. They are listed because we have already verified that they use the “good tests” and you can trust the results. Good luck!


In October of 2010, following an accident causing physical trauma to my genital area, I woke up with sores. I didn’t think it could have been herpes at the time (even though I was sexually active) and I thought it was shingles because I only found sores on the right side of my body, but I went in to take a blood and skin test. The skin test came back negative for HSV-2 (I don’t think an HSV-1 test was done) but the blood test came back positive for both HSV-1 and HSV-2 (Herpeselect type specific IGG tests). From then on, I assumed it was HSV-2. I haven’t had an outbreak since then and decided to get retested using the same test. This time I came back NEGATIVE for HSV-2 but still positive for HSV-1. I know I have HSV-1 because I get cold sores, but it seems like there’s no way to tell if I have genital HSV-1 unless I get outbreaks again. What should I do? What is the likelihood of a false positive? false negative? I think it would still be most appropriate to tell any potential partners but my situation seems a bit complicated..thanks!


I know I have herpies never been tested since 1984 not sexually active tired of hiding I wiil be tested this month.(may)2012. Feel lost dont know how to take this. I have been told you are a good looking man why are you single and not dating.i am not ready is my answer. They know I am hiding something.It is hard to turn down the lady I have met and will not do them no harm. I could not live with my self giving this to any one.


It’s possible that your doctor ordered one of the old, unreliable herpes blood tests, which are unfortunately still on the market. Many doctors are not aware about the newer, very accurate herpes blood tests. So find out the complete name of the Herpes blood test that the doctor ordered, and make sure it is on the list of the “good” herpes blood tests at: http://www.datingwithherpes.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/HerpesBloodTestGuide.pdf If not, make a copy of this list of good herpes blood tests and go back to your doctor and request that he/she order only one of the tests on this list. Good luck!


I had herpes symptoms 6 days after having unprotected sex. 2 days after that, I was at the doctor were he took a culture and blood work. Those results came back negative but he said by the blisters and symptoms that it was definitely herpes and that I should get on medicine. So I did. I have not had the blisters show up again, but I have had all the other symptoms, itchy, tingly. As well as “‘over-stretched’, or kind of like rug burn” as someone mention before, but it’s only in one spot and it is reoccurring. It comes and it goes. I went back exactly 19 weeks after the day I could have contracted it. Blood results came back negative as well as syphilis. The paper I received only says -HSV 1& 2 IgG – <.9. Negative for herpes-
Does this mean I don't have herpes and I have something else (since I do have symptoms) or I am positive and I haven't develop antibodies? How common is this? When should I go back for another test to be sure?


While the odds of transmission may have been low, for your own piece of mind, you should get a herpes blood test. Keep in mind that it takes 12-16 weeks for enough herpes antibodies to form to show up in a herpes blood test. So if you test positive now, then you already had herpes before you slept with this new person. But if you test negative now, and then positive in 3-4 months, then you got herpes from someone in the last 3-4 months. Remember, 1 in 5 people have genital herpes, but 90% of them don’t even know it and have never been tested properly for it. So just because this person KNOWS that they have herpes does NOT mean that you got herpes from them and not someone else who did not know it. Good luck.


I had sex with someone a few days ago who told me she had HSV-2. I just felt like the odds of transmission were so low, based on what she told me. We used protection and I washed up immediately after (which I’m not sure matters in the slightest). Now I’m experiencing itching and slight pain. I really hope it’s the power of suggestion, but I’m guessing I have HSV-2 also.

I moved to a new area recently and I don’t have a physician I see regularly. Should I find a family practice doctor or seek some kind of specialist?


If you test positive for HSV2, then you have genital herpes and have the possibility of spreading it to partners, even when you have no symptoms. Any doctor who tells you that a positive test only means that you were “exposed” and does not mean that you have the possibility of spreading it – is way out of date and is spreading misinformation about herpes. Time to get yourself a new doctor! DWH


I’m in my late-30s, and have never been married, so I’ve dated lots of women, plus I love me some sex.
Back in about 1992 I woke up after a night of particularly long & exhaustive sex, and the skin just under the head of my penis in 3 or 4 places seemed ‘over-stretched’, or kind of like rug burn.
I immediately suspected HSV-2, and went to the doctor. The doctor did a visual inspection, and told me it was just from friction during rough sex.
Since then I have periodically been tested with a ‘Full STD Screen’, assuming that HSV was included. In most cases, I was never given the actual paperwork, but simply told by the doctor that everything came back OK.
Fast-forward to 2011…I woke up with a case of Epididymitis, which freaked me the hell out. One testicle was so swollen & sore I could barely sit down.
I went straight to the doctor, she had a look at it, and referred me to have an Ultrasound, which they later found to be negative, but in the course of that, they did an HSV blood test (can’t find the paperwork now), which later came back positive for HSV-2.
OK, life sucks, but I knew HSV wasn’t a killer (my older sister has had it for years), but it does put a crimp in your style.
So since then, I’ve been assuming I had HSV-2, and making sure that past & present partners knew it, etc.. Doing the right thing.
So I go to have a physical yesterday, and my new doctor says that the reason they don’t normally do the blood test, is because at some point in everyone’s life, they are exposed to HSV-1 or HSV-2, and a positive only means that I was at some point, but not that I was a carrier of HSV-2. She said the only way to confirm if I was a carrier of HSV-2, would be if I came in while I had an outbreak (I never have) & had a culture done.

So now I read this article, and I’m confused all over again…I need to find my paperwork from the blood test.

Basically, to me it sounds as if the medical community has given up in trying to treat & prevent the spread of HSV, assuming that it’s unlikely to be eradicated. If so, maybe they’re correct in assuming so, but one thing is for sure; There’s a crap-load of people out there that have no clue they do have it, some that suspect they do, but are in denial & say nothing, and people like me that try to do the right thing, but are given so much conflicting information, that they don’t know who or what to believe.


He’s got a right to know if he has been potentially exposed to HSV2 and you know it. It’s very common, and he has probably slept with other people before you who might have had HSV2 and didn’t know it. You should talk to him so that he can set up an appointment to get tested.

It’s possible that you may have even gotten herpes from this person, and not the other way around. 90% of the people who carry the HSV2 virus, DON’T EVEN KNOW IT, because most of them have few or no noticeable symptoms and most doctors do NOT include a test for herpes when they are testing their patients for other STD’s. So your boyfriend might have HSV2 and just not know it. This is extremely common.

The responsible thing to do is to TELL your boyfriend that you tested positive for HSV1 and HSV2, and suggest that he also get tested. Give him links to this site and other sites about herpes so that he can read up on the information and know that it’s possible to have herpes and NOT KNOW IT.

If you worry that he might be the kind of person who might “judge” you negatively because you found out that you have herpes, then you still have to tell him. Just imagine what anyone would think about you if you DIDN’T tell him! Telling him is just the right thing to do. “Not telling” someone just gives everyone else with herpes a bad reputation and makes people think less of you and other people with herpes. If you want good Karma, then be honest with him. If he reacts badly, that’s his own problem and you did the right thing.

For tips on “How To Tell Someone That You Have Genital Herpes”, see our page at:


I understand your concerns about the herpes test that was done for you under less-than-ideal conditions. We cannot answer your question about whether or not your test sample was compromised or the test was good or bad because you did not give us enough information. For instance – what was the name of the test that they used that was “old”, etc. What did they mean by “old”? Did they mean that the test could not be relied upon to give accurate results compared to some of the newer tests? What did they mean? Unless the test they used was already considered somehow unreliable, then it does seem a bit unlikely that a “culture” test for HSV1 would be compromised just because of lack of ICE. Are they sure that they tested you for both HSV1 and HSV2, and that the test only showed HSV1? Or was the test non-specific about the type and maybe it just says you have “HSV” but doesn’t tell you which type 1 or 2? You really need to ask your doctor to be much more specific.

If you have HSV1 – you are not alone! This is extremely common! 60%-80% of adults in the US have HSV1, which is usually the cause of cold sores around the mouth. However, because of the popularity of oral sex and the fact that most people don’t use condoms or dental dams or any other sort of protection during oral sex, HSV1 is commonly transmitted to the genitals and is the cause of about 30% of new cases of genital herpes. And most doctors do not include a blood test for HSV1 or HSV2 when they are testing their patients for other STDs. So even if your ex-boyfriends thought they were “clean” for herpes and had no symptoms of either oral cold sores or genital herpes outbreaks, it’s very possible that either of them, or YOU, already had HSV1, HSV2, or both, but just didn’t know it.

Suppressive therapies such as a daily prescription for Acyclovir (less expensive) or Valcyclovir – more expensive but a lower dose) have been shown to be very effective at reducing the frequency and duration of outbreaks in patients with HSV1 and/or HSV2. It is recommended that you also use condoms for additional protection. For more info on herpes treatments, see http://www.datingwithherpes.org/herpestreatments/

Good luck!


I have recently been diagnosed with vaginal HSV-1. I had a blood and culture done. Both came back positive. I knew the blood test would come back positive with HSV-1 as I get cold soars. But was shocked when the culture came back positive as well. I had gone in to see the Dr thinking I had a yeast infection and although she said everything looked fine, she decided to take a culture.

Here is where the issue comes into play. When she sent the culture to the lab, the labe called back later to say their ICE had melted and asked if my Dr wanted them to proceed with the test. They also said her testing supplies she was using were out dated, and asked if she wanted to proceed with the tests. She agreed, and had to give a disclaimer due to both.

The Dr did determin I did have a bad yeast infection at that time.

I had question between the yeast infection, and the fact the labs ice had melted, and the Dr was using out dated testing supplies, if it was possible if the test could have given a false positive.

I called the lab to talk to a Biochemist to find out. I couldn’t speak to one directly, so they had one call my Dr with the answer. According to the Biochemist, they say it’s not possible that it would give a false positive. I still have a hard time believing this under the circumstances of the ice melting and old testing supplies. But I’m doing my best to accept the answer as they are the experts.

In 2010 I dated a man with HSV (not sure which type he was never tested only visually confirmed), so I knew there was a possibility I could end up with it. BUT!!! while we were dating I had a blood test and came back positive for HSV-1 (but again I get cold soars). I had a full STD panel done, including cultures 2 months after he and I broke up at the end of 2010. Once again everything came back clean, accept HSV-1. Cultures came back clear. In June 2011, I was having some itching and burning, so I went to the Dr. She did a culture, it came back clean.

Now I have been with 2 guys since my x boyfriend in 2010. But according to both of them they are clean. One I know forsure has been tested recently and is clean. the other, I only know what he tells me.

I guess I struggle with the fact the culture wasn’t done under normal circumstances. So knowing forsure that I received a correct answer is hard to accept. I wish it would have just been cut and dry.

Any thoughts?

My last question for you, is the supressive medication that is out, does that work with HSV-1?


My boyfriend that I’ve been with for a year have sex with condoms when we have vaginal sex. When I give him oral or he gives me oral we have never used protection for oral sex. Recently, I tested postive for HSV 1 & 2. My boyfriend tested negative. How is that possible?

I haven’t told him that I tested positive yet because I really don’t know how to have this conversation. Please help!!!! What do I say. We actually work together and I fear this could end up badly. I love him dearly and am happy that he tested negative, but now what do I do?

I’ve thought about just ending the relationship and not telling him why since he tested negative. I think that would be best. I fear that every time he sees me at work he’ll look at me and think of my herpes.

Any advice would be appreciated.


Some doctors don’t understand that a positive result on one of the new, very accurate type-specific IgG herpes blood tests – DOES mean that the patient definitely carries the HSV virus – unless for instance – you had a blood transfusion and the donor had HSV2 antibodies. For the great majority of patients, a positive result on one of the “good” herpes blood tests, DOES mean that you carry the virus and that it resides dormant somewhere in the ganglia of your spinal chord and may occasionally re-activate and cause either noticeable or asymptomatic shedding of the virus.

Statistics estimate that over 60% of adults in the US have HSV1, and approximately 20% of adults in the US have HSV2, but 90% of them have never been tested for herpes and DON’T KNOW that they even have any form of herpes.

Here’s a link to a collaborative study on the prevalence of genital herpes from 2 research scientists/doctors, one at the University of Washington School of Medicine and the other at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Genital Herpes: Prevalence, Transmission, and Prevention (Medscape)

Please also read our web page about “How To Tell Someone That You Have Herpes” and “Reducing Herpes Risk” of spreading herpes to gain more confidence in dating people with or without herpes and how to protect them most effectively. Most people with genital herpes lead normal, happy and productive lives, have romances, get married, have children and nothing terrible happens! The worst thing about discovering that you have herpes is the unfair “stigma” that some people associate with it. Please read:
http://www.datingwithherpes.org/tellingsomeone/ and

Read up on the facts on this site to gain knowledge and confidence! Good luck!


I’m embarrassed to call the office that had me tested and find out the name of the specific tests they used. I might use the confidential kit to help me sort out the following – a bit.

I haven’t had contact with anyone for many years. I went to a non-traditional practitioner, not my family GP, who ran blood tests for many things. When I got the results he said “and you have Herpes 1 and Herpes 2” and then kept reading results that he had found.

When I’ve told subsequent doctors that a blood test was positive, but I have not had outbreaks, itching, or any known symptoms, they say “the tests show that you have been in contact with HSV2”.

I have a bit of an understanding that I was tested for antibodies, that was positive, so, does this translate to “I have herpes”? It’s confusing to me to hear the last 2 MDs say “you have been in contact with it” but not “you have HSV2”.

I would like to be retested since my results seemed odd. I just remember a number in the twenties, not 1 or 2 point something. Does that give a clue what test it was More important, though, I don’t know WHERE HSV2 is/would be in my body.

I also don’t know how to explain my situation to anyone if I should date again. I don’t intend to have casual sex (that is separate from any viruses). To add to it, I had some unusual abdominal cramping (in menopause) and am being examined frequently to look for cancer cells (repeat paps frequently). They have found HPV as well, but Class 2 cells, in other words, one of the HPVs that is not correlated to cancer.

I do feel like no one would want to have a serious relationship with me if they knew about these things. I don’t want to date someone who has active outbreaks and feel torn between only looking for someone in a group or forum for STDs or just insisting on protection because you never know anyway if a man has HPV.

It’s not like me to keep secrets or put people in danger, but the wording of being exposed to it combined with the lack of outbreaks makes me very unsure how to explain my health and risks to a potential partner. I will use the info I’ve read above to help, but anything additional? I feel so alone with this situation. I have insurance and can’t see how I could convince a Dr to rerun a test that was already positive.


If I were him, yes, I would get a type-specific herpes IgG blood test right away to see if I already had HSV1 and/or HSV2. Most people will test positive for HSV1 because it is the virus that causes cold sores. If he tests positive now for HSV2, then he was most likely infected before he met you, because it usually take 12-16 weeks for HSV2 antibodies to show up in the bloodstream after someone is first infected. If he tests negative now, then he should get re-tested in 12-16 weeks just to be sure. Oops, now what is right! The best thing is to come clean right away. It’s not too late to start practicing safer sex right now by using condoms and taking daily Acyclovir or Valcyclovir as suppressive therapy. Taking those precautions will significantly reduce your risk of spreading herpes to your partners.


I carry the H virus and recently (2 days ago) slept with a man and in the crime of passion and alcohol had unprotected sex with him. I am working up the nerves to have a conversation with him asap. Oh how I wish I read the article about telling someone first. I think I would have had the confidence to tell him before if I read this first. You need a section called “Oops Now what” to help people (because I am sure there are many) that have unprotected sex without informing the partner not maliciously but out of passion.

My actual question is If he gets tested this week will this be his baseline (as if he tested before sleeping with me) so that this test will tell us if he was positive or negative for the virus prior to me and then after 12-16 weeks test again (if he is negative) to see if he contracted it from me?


It’s possible that if your boyfriend was newly infected with genital herpes, that he didn’t have the virus long enough for it to show up in a herpes blood test. It’s possible that your boyfriend got herpes on his genitals from you, either from oral sex (HSV1) or vaginal or anal sex (usually HsV2). It’s also possible that the doctor did not order the right herpes blood test. The “new” type-specific herpes blood tests are very accurate, but only if taken 12-16 weeks after someone was first infected. There are still many old, unreliable blood tests on the market, and you really need to find out specifically what test your doctor ordered to be sure it was one of the highly accurate new herpes blood tests. To download a list of the “good” herpes blood tests, go to Bring this list to your doctor and make sure he/she gives BOTH you and your boyfriend one of these good herpes blood tests.


hello, my bf went to a doctor and she said he has herpes on the genitals but his blood work was clean is that possible? and how can u determine that its herpes without proper blood work?


Yes, even if you find out that you test positive for genital herpes, it is possible that your ex-girlfriend might have acquired her own case of genital herpes from a previous partner. This can only be confirmed if she took a previous blood test for herpes before she started sleeping with you, and also only if that blood test was done within 12-16 weeks AFTER her most recent previous partner. If she was sleeping with other people without getting tested for herpes and/or if she was sleeping with more than one person within a few weeks or months of each other, there may be no way of knowing just who she got herpes from. It is also possible that she had herpes for a long time and just recently had symptoms. That happens to a lot of people but they don’t understand that you can carry the virus without ANY symptoms for a long time – even years – and not kinow that you have herpes. So get yourself tested, and I would not be surprised to hear that you don’t have herpes and she does. But you have to prepare yourself for the possibility that you may indeed have herpes and just didn’t know it. DHW


I currently have an exgirlfriend going around telling everyone that I have and gave her herpes. I, myself, have never had and symptoms. No outbreaks, no cold sores, nothing. My reputation in my hometown is being destroyed by this woman. I found out towards the end of our relationship that she was diagnosed posetive. I dont recall wether it was HSV1 or HSV2. We took precautions and I decided to stay with her as I “thought” I loved her at the time. We were together for 10 months and apart now for 3. I still have never had any symptoms. I know I need to be tested but is it possible that she got it from someone else and it surfaced during our relationship? She says it was me because it didnt show up until 7 months into our relationship. Is this possible? SO CONFUSED!
(currently I am refraining from ANY and ALL dating, relations…etc…


Get a herpes test immediately when you are having an active outbreak. Ask for both a swab/culture test and a type-specific herpes blood test using one of the more recent, accurate blood tests listed at http://www.ashastd.org/pdfs/HerpesBloodTestGuide.pdf Find out if you have HSV1, HSV2, or both. If you have HSV2, then your vaginal outbreak is HSV2, and not related to your oral cold sores.


I am currently experiencing an outbreak. As far back as I can recall I am prone to “cold sore blisters, fever blisters”. The very 1st appearance of a “blister” within my vagina was 3 year’s ago approximately. As I was celibate for 3 years at that time & also had an annual outbreak on my mouth, my doctor concluded that I had transferred it from my mouth to my vaginal area. Is this possible? Now I am totally confused. I do not recall feeling in any other way unwell 3 years ago, and I have had “cold sore blisters, fever blisters” within the last 3 years WITHOUT a recurrence within my vagina… until today. Today I felt all of the symptoms that are described in a “Primary outbreak of vaginal herpes”. I went to check myself with a mirror, and there, in the same location as 3 year’s ago was a very nasty, angry red bump. Then I decided to research this which led me to your website. What do you think??


The good thing is, you now know for sure that you didn’t get HSV2 from any of your previous partners. So your first blood test is your baseline. After you get retested after it’s a full 12-16 weeks after you suspect you were exposed, you will have a second baseline. Hopefully negative! It’s so important to know your herpes status. It’s amazing that most doctor’s don’t test their patients for herpes, and so many people are walking around (or sleeping around) thinking that they are “clean”, when in fact, they might have herpes and just not have any noticeable symptoms. If more people got tested, and took precautions, then people could more easily protect themselves against giving or spreading herpes.


I had a blood tes done 6 weeks after exposure. Now I’m having a heart attack because I’ve learned that its not 100% Here we go again. Hopefully I’ll get really lucky. I’m soooooo scared. :'( this whole time I thought I was in the clear.


Recently ended 9 yr relationship because Fiancee had an affair. I had my yearly gyno exam and requested full std panel. It came back positive IgG (5) for HSVII. I am however, asymptomatic. I’ve never had any outbreaks or symptoms of HSVII. Also, my ex is the only person I’ve had unprotected sex with in 15 years. I do remember last year he did have some issues like intermittent painful urination & IBS type symptoms. His doctor ran an STD panel on him but did not test for Herpes. He was referred to a Gastroenterologist and was given strong probiotics & even had a colonoscopy. I do also remember him having a cold sore in 2009. Also, something I’ve never experienced. Although, we are not on speaking terms right now I feel compelled to try to reach out to him about this & try to convince him to have a herpes test so he’s not out unknowingly spreading this to other Women. I’m not sure if he gave me herpes or if I’ve had it all this time (15yrs.). It’s just the timing of his affair & my diagnosis is too much of a coincidence. I’m angry, hurt & confused right now. I feel all alone.


It depends on what kind of blood test you were given. Most tests will not give accurate results unless you have had the virus for sufficient time for the markers of the antibodies to show up in your bloodstream. Some people don’t have their first outbreaks until YEARS after they acquired the virus. Find out the exact name of the company that manufactured the test, and the exact name of the test, (not just the name of the lab or the type of the test) and then you will have enough info to ask your question again and find out if you took one of the “good” HSV tests, and what kind of information it was capable of showing. Until you have this info, it is premature to assume that you got herpes from your last partner. Many people make that mistake and start accusing each other. It’s just not that simple.


I was just diagnosed with “H” last week. I was sure it had to have been the last person I was with because the symptoms showed up about 3 or 4 days later. I went to the doctor the next day (day 5) and had the testing done. A week later the results came back positive (both culture and blood test) Now according to this article, am I wrong in thinking it was this last partner? Since it says “You must WAIT AT LEAST 12-16 WEEKS after you were exposed to herpes, in order to give the virus antibodies enough time to develop in your blood stream”. ? So I guess it couldn’t have been the last partner?