HSV2 blood tests involve a screening for genital herpes, which is a sexually transmitted disease that is common. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 2, which is how the blood test gets its name. Most people who have become infected with HSV2 will not have any symptoms. For this reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not recommend testing everyone for this sexually transmitted disease.
When to Ask About the HSV2 Blood Test
Diagnosing genital herpes in someone without any symptoms caused by the HSV2 virus has not shown to change their sexual behaviors. It does not stop the virus from spreading either. The HSV2 blood test also has a history of false positive results when there are no symptoms present, which may cause a medical provider to issue an incorrect diagnosis.
If you do not have symptoms of HSV2, but have recently had unprotected sexual contact with a new partner, then speak with your medical provider about your sexual history. This is the best solution to determine if the HSV2 blood test is right for you.
You may also wish to speak with your doctor about the HSV2 blood test if you have certain specific situations in your recent history. This includes symptoms which could be related to the herpes virus or if you have had or are currently having sex with someone who may have genital herpes.
It is also a good idea to have a complete STD exam when you have multiple sex partners.
Why Is Testing Only Recommended When Symptoms Are Present?
Testing is recommended for herpes where there are genital symptoms only because this blood test can help to confirm the infection. When the symptoms of genital herpes are present, this is generally referred to as a “flare up” or “having an outbreak.” They can appear as blisters that are on the rectum, genitals, or even the mouth.
Eventually the blisters can break and may leave painful sores. These sores may take several weeks to heal. The results of the HSV2 blood test can help you know what to expect for future health needs, what medications may be available to help you manage your symptoms, and ways that you can lower future risks of either obtaining the infection in the future or spreading the infection to future partners.
Women who are pregnant and have a sexual partner who has been diagnosed should be tested immediately. The fetus can also obtain the herpes virus and herpes infections in babies can be life-threatening.
What Do My Test Results Mean?
If your HSV2 blood test results come back as positive, then this is a general indication that the herpes virus is present. If the test comes back as negative, then this is a general indication that the herpes virus is not present. The HSV2 blood test does have a history of providing some false results, so it is important to discuss any specific results with a medical provider.
If the HSV2 blood test is positive and the results are confirmed, then it is important to note that people with genital herpes are at a greater risk of obtaining an HIV infection in the future. This increased risk is present even when there are no symptoms of genital herpes present. This is because the infection of the herpes virus can attract the cells that HIV targets during an exposure.
What Happens if My Test Is Positive?
Infections of HSV2 are considered to be a lifelong event. Because of this, it is important to avoid any false positive tests. If you are not having any symptoms of genital herpes and do not believe you have had sexual contact with anyone who may have had this disease, then a second blood test may help to confirm the results.
It should be noted that the CDC believes people who have a lower than average risk of being infected may have a higher than average risk of experiencing a false positive result.
If the HSV2 blood test is positive and confirmed, then a treatment plan to manage symptoms and avoid spreading the infection to others will be implemented. Your medical provider will also provide you with information resources that detail current research efforts, prevention methods, and additional treatment methods that may help to manage outbreaks when they occur.
A positive HSV2 test may require some habit changes, but it doesn’t have to change everything. Speak with your doctor about your risk factors for HSV2 and this will determine if the HSV2 blood test is right for you.