Herpes can be difficult to diagnose without proper tests. This is because herpes symptoms may not be noticeable for some people, or, because herpes symptoms may be similar to different illnesses. Additionally, visible symptoms of HSV-1 or HSV-2 may or not be present. This is why you'll need to see your doctor to request either of the following tests.
If your doctor notes visible symptoms of herpes, s/he may request a viral culture of a sore or lesion outbreak. You must take this test during the first 48 hours of an outbreak, otherwise there is a higher chance of getting a false negative result from the test. A person who tests positive for herpes with the culture test most likely has herpes. However, if lesions have begun healing, there is a high chance for a false negative and the test must be taken again.
If no symptoms of HSV-1 or HSV-2 are present, blood tests are available to test for virus antibodies in the blood. Be advised, however, that many commercially available blood tests are highly inaccurate. In fact, many people receive false positives because of the test's inability to distinguish between herpes simplex 1 and herpes simplex 2. IgG herpes simplex tests are the most accurate, but require a waiting period of up to 16 weeks after contraction in order for antibodies to show up in the blood.
Herpes is a common, but usually non-severe skin condition. Although it cannot be cured, it is treatable. After you have received a diagnosis, treatment for herpes is available. Continue reading here for more information about herpes genital warts and cold sore treatment in our Herpes Treatment section now.