How to Test for Herpes

Q: I just got a call from my ex-girlfriend and she seems to think that I gave her genital herpes. I have never had an outbreak so of course I told her that it was not me, but I was her last partner and she says that she has only had sex with one other person in her life, so I guess I need to know if this is possible and also how to test for herpes if I don’t have symptoms?

A: Well, if you want to know how to test for herpes if you have not had any outbreaks, the good news is there are simple blood tests that can help. The not-so-good news is, yes it is possible for you to have herpes and not have symptoms.

Let’s focus on this first. Unfortunately, you can have an STD and not have symptoms. It is the very reason people get an STD screening from time to time. Now understand the fact that you have not had an outbreak means one of two things. Either you have been exposed but have not had a noticeable outbreak, or that you just don’t have it. This is good. If you have been exposed and just not had symptoms, or those symptoms have not been severe enough to pay attention to, there is a good chance you will continue to not have severe symptoms.

The test that can help answer these questions is the Herpes type 2 test. This is a blood test that checks to see if your immune system is responding to the virus that usually causes genital herpes. If you take this test and it is negative, it is likely that you have not been exposed in the genital region.  If this test is positive it is likely that you have been exposed to herpes in the genital region. This test can be an incredible useful tool when you are not having symptoms, but understand this test is only a guide, and should be used in conjunction with a patient’s full clinical profile. More specifically, they can be positive if a person has been exposed to type 2 orally only. When you get tested they will explain this a little more in depth.