Herpes Tests Accuracy
An important first step in managing both oral and genital herpes is getting an accurate diagnosis and it is possible only when you get true results in herpes tests. Well it may seem like a simple task, it can be more difficult than it appears. Even for many healthcare providers it may seem confusing to know when to test and which test to use.
Actually there is lot of misinformation about herpes, both in general public and health providers. To help you and clarify some issues, we are going to tell you which herpes test is best and what is the level of accuracy in herpes test available today. There are different tests available to detect herpes virus such as viral culture test, DNA test, blood test, PCR test and antibody test.
Different Types Of Herpes Tests
Viral culture test
Viral culture tests are made by taking a fluid sample from the lesions, ideally within the first 3 days of appearance. Viral culture tests are very accurate if lesions are still in the clear blisters stage, but they do not work well for older ulcerated sores and recurrent lesions or latency. At these stages, the virus may not be active enough to reproduce sufficiently to produce a visible culture.
Serologic or blood tests can identify antibodies that are specific to the virus and its type. When the herpes virus infects someone, their body’s immune system produces specific antibodies to fight off the infection. If a blood test detects antibodies to herpes, it’s evidence that you have been infected with this virus. Blood tests are most accurate when administered 12-16 weeks after exposure to the virus. False negative results are occur only if tests are done in the early stages of infection.
This is known as polymerase chain reaction test. A PCR test can be done on cells or fluids from a sore or on blood. PCR finds the genetic material (DNA) of the herpes virus. This test can tell the difference between HSV 1 and HSV 2.
There are some limitations with each type of tests. With culture test, accuracy depends upon timing. PCR, if available, is more sensitive than viral culture so PCR is preferred test for recurrent lesions.
The highly sensitive and specific new tests for the detection of herpes simplex virus deliver reliable results to physicians for optimal patient treatment. A visual exam is not always accurate in diagnosing herpes because the sores associated with the virus resemble other skin conditions such as acne, allergies and even eczema. Some people develop enough antibodies to be detected by blood test within few weeks, other may take some months. For those who have inconclusive results, a repeat test in a month or two might provide a more clear answer. If the repeated test yields a positive result, it does not necessarily indicate that the initial result was incorrect. The most accurate results are provided by the IgG herpes test. Click here to get details about IgG herpes test.
The type of tests and results are depends upon the type of outbreaks and recurrent lesions. While people experience signs and symptoms of herpes, they do not expect a positive result because a positive result may be more difficult to believe. Re- testing is only another option for checking out the result again. If your result is positive, you need to do all the things that help you in managing the herpes virus.