The Herpes 1 & 2 test contains 1 test with 2 biomarkers.
Brief Description: The Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test, also known as Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) Antibody test, is a laboratory test that detects the presence of antibodies against Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2) in the blood. HSV-1 is primarily associated with oral herpes (cold sores), while HSV-2 is typically linked to genital herpes. The test helps determine whether an individual has been exposed to the herpes virus and has developed an immune response.
Also Known As: Herpes Simplex Virus 1/2 IgG Type-Specific Antibodies, Herpes, Herpes 1 and 2 Test, Herpes 1 Test, Herpes 2 Test, Herpes IgG Test
Collection Method: Blood Draw
Specimen Type: Serum
Test Preparation: No preparation required
When is a Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test ordered?
A Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test may be ordered in the following situations:
Diagnosis of Herpes Infection: The test is commonly ordered when a person presents with symptoms suggestive of a herpes infection, such as sores or blisters around the mouth (HSV-1) or genital area (HSV-2). It aids in confirming the presence of an active or past herpes infection.
Screening for Herpes Infection: The test may be ordered as part of routine screening in individuals who are at higher risk of acquiring or transmitting the virus, such as individuals with multiple sexual partners or those with a history of unprotected sex. Screening is important to identify asymptomatic carriers and prevent transmission.
Prenatal Testing: Pregnant women may undergo the Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test as part of prenatal screening. If a woman tests positive for HSV-2 antibodies during pregnancy, precautions can be taken to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to the baby during childbirth.
What does a Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody blood test check for?
The herpes simplex virus causes herpes, which is a common viral ailment. HSV-1 and HSV-2 are the two primary forms of the virus. Herpes simplex virus testing looks for herpes antibodies in the blood to see if you've had herpes before.
Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 are contagious and create little fever blisters that burst open to form open lesions on a regular basis. HSV-1 is more likely to create blisters or "cold sores" around the mouth, whilst HSV-2 is more likely to develop lesions in the genital area; nevertheless, both can affect the oral and genital areas.
The herpes simplex virus can be transmitted from person to person by physical contact while sores are open and healing, as well as when no sores are evident. HSV-2 is more commonly spread through sexual contact, while HSV-1 can also be acquired through oral sex and discovered in the vaginal area. According to the American Sexual Health Association, around 50% of adults in the United States have HSV-1, whereas approximately 17% have HSV-2. Because symptoms are often modest, 90 percent of persons infected with HSV-2 may be unaware of their infection.
When a person is first infected, they may experience visible and painful blisters at the infection site, which normally occur two weeks after the virus is transferred. In most cases, the lesions heal in two to four weeks. Blisters can form in the vaginal area, on the penis, around the anus, or on the buttocks or thighs, among other places. This initial episode may include a second blister breakout as well as flu-like symptoms like fever and swollen glands. Blisters do not affect everyone, and the symptoms can be so subtle that they go unnoticed or be mistaken for something else, such as bug bites or a rash.
When a person is infected with HSV and the infection clears, the virus remains latent in the person's body. The virus might reactivate at times of stress or illness.
People with illnesses that impair the immune system, such as HIV/AIDS or those who have undergone an organ transplant, may experience more frequent and severe HSV outbreaks. While there is no cure for herpes, antiviral drugs can help to control outbreaks and shorten the time between symptoms and active virus shedding.
When a woman transfers the virus to her infant during a vaginal delivery, it can cause neonatal herpes. Neonatal herpes symptoms emerge within the first month of life and, if addressed, can harm a baby's health in the long run. A pregnant woman with herpes who has been diagnosed may be followed routinely prior to delivery to detect reactivation of the infection, which would necessitate a caesarean section to avoid infecting the baby.
The herpes simplex virus can cause encephalitis if it enters the brain. Those who survive this illness may succumb to it or suffer from major, long-term neurological disorders.
Lab tests often ordered with a Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test:
When a Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test is ordered, it's often part of a broader assessment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or to evaluate symptoms that may be related to herpes. Here are some tests commonly ordered alongside it:
Syphilis Test (RPR):
- Purpose: To screen for syphilis, another common STI.
- Why Is It Ordered: Syphilis can have serious long-term consequences if not treated and is part of routine STI screening.
Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Tests:
- Purpose: To test for these common bacterial STIs.
- Why Is It Ordered: Chlamydia and gonorrhea are among the most common STIs and can cause symptoms similar to or exacerbate herpes infections.
Hepatitis B and C Tests:
- Purpose: To screen for hepatitis B and C viruses, which can be transmitted sexually.
- Why Is It Ordered: Hepatitis can lead to serious liver disease and is a concern for sexually active individuals, especially those with multiple partners.
Complete Blood Count (CBC):
- Purpose: Provides a broad picture of overall health.
- Why Is It Ordered: To assess general health and detect any signs of infection or inflammation.
- Purpose: To evaluate the health of the urinary system.
- Why Is It Ordered: To check for signs of urinary tract infection, which can sometimes accompany STIs.
These tests, when ordered alongside a Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test, provide a comprehensive view of an individual’s sexual and reproductive health. They are important for diagnosing and managing STIs and identifying any related conditions or complications. The specific combination of tests will depend on the individual's symptoms, sexual history, and overall health status.
Conditions where a Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test is recommended:
A Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test is used to diagnose and screen for herpes infections, including:
Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1) Infection: HSV-1 is primarily associated with oral herpes, causing cold sores or fever blisters around the mouth. The test helps determine if an individual has been infected with HSV-1.
Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-2) Infection: HSV-2 is primarily associated with genital herpes, causing sores or blisters on or around the genitals. The test helps determine if an individual has been infected with HSV-2.
How does my health care provider use a Herpes 1 and 2 antibody test?
In people who have genital sores or encephalitis, herpes simplex virus testing is performed to diagnose a current herpes infection. It's also used to test neonates for neonatal herpes, an uncommon but deadly illness in which herpes is contracted during vaginal delivery.
HSV testing can also be performed to determine whether or not you have had a previous infection. Testing may be performed to identify between a primary, active infection and a recurrent illness in persons who have symptoms.
Antibody testing for herpes simplex virus detects immunological proteins produced by the body in response to a herpes infection. Antibodies are divided into two types by the body. Several days after an initial HSV infection, it begins to create IgM class antibodies, which can be detected in the blood for several weeks. Following HSV IgM, it begins to create HSV IgG antibodies. IgG levels in the blood rise for several weeks, then gradually fall and ultimately stable. Once infected with HSV, the infected person will continue to produce modest amounts of HSV IgG.
HSV antibody testing can detect both viral forms, and there are tests that can detect both early IgM antibodies and long-lasting IgG antibodies in persons who have been exposed.
HSV antibody testing can be used to assist diagnose an acute HSV infection if blood samples are collected many weeks apart, albeit it is not as sensitive as PCR or culture. The HSV IgG antibody levels are compared to check if they have increased significantly, indicating that an infection is present.
Antibody testing may also be used to screen for a previously contracted HSV infection in select populations, such as sexually active adults, possible organ transplant recipients, and those with HIV infection.
What do my Herpes 1 and 2 antibody test results mean?
A positive IgG antibody test for HSV-1 or HSV-2 implies a past infection.
When comparing data from acute and convalescent samples, a large increase in HSV IgG antibodies indicates an active or recent infection.
Negative HSV antibody results indicate that the person was either not exposed to HSV or that the body did not have enough time to produce HSV antibodies.
Most Common Questions About the Herpes 1 and 2 test:
Understanding the Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody Test
What is the Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test?
The Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test is a blood test that detects the presence of antibodies to the herpes simplex viruses type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2). These antibodies are produced by the immune system in response to an infection with either of these viruses.
Why would a Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test be performed?
This test is typically performed when a person has signs or symptoms suggestive of a herpes infection, such as sores or blisters in the genital area or around the mouth. It can also be performed in individuals who may not have symptoms but have a partner with genital herpes, or are at risk due to unprotected sexual activities.
Interpreting Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody Test Results
What does a positive Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test mean?
A positive test result indicates that the person has been infected with HSV-1, HSV-2, or both. It does not, however, identify whether the infection is currently active or when the person became infected.
What does a negative Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test mean?
A negative test result means that HSV antibodies were not detected in the blood, suggesting that the person has not been infected with herpes. However, if the test was conducted soon after potential exposure, it could be a false negative, as it takes the body a while to produce antibodies.
Herpes Antibody Test and Disease Management
How can the Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test be used in managing my herpes infection?
The test can confirm the presence of a herpes infection, which can guide the management and treatment plan. Knowing your herpes status also helps to take appropriate precautions to prevent transmission to others.
Does a positive Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test mean I will have recurrent outbreaks?
Not necessarily. While the herpes viruses stay in your body for life, not everyone who tests positive for HSV antibodies will have recurrent outbreaks. The frequency and severity of outbreaks vary greatly from person to person.
Herpes Antibody Test and Other Tests
How does the Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test compare to the herpes culture test?
The herpes antibody test detects the immune response to the virus, whereas the herpes culture test detects the virus itself, typically from a sample taken from a sore or blister. The culture test is most accurate when a sore is new; its accuracy decreases as the sore starts to heal.
Can the Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test distinguish between oral and genital herpes?
No, the test can detect antibodies to both HSV-1 and HSV-2 but it cannot determine the site of the infection. Traditionally, HSV-1 was associated with oral herpes and HSV-2 with genital herpes, but both viruses can infect either location.
Can I have a positive Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test but no symptoms?
Yes, it's possible to have a positive test and be asymptomatic. This is known as asymptomatic shedding, where the person can still transmit the virus even though they show no symptoms.
Can other conditions cause a positive Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test result?
False positives can occasionally occur due to cross-reactivity with other viral antigens. Therefore, positive results are usually confirmed with a different type of test called a Western blot test.
How soon after exposure can the Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test detect antibodies?
It typically takes two to six weeks for the body to produce antibodies to HSV, but it can take longer in some individuals. For this reason, testing should be repeated if the initial test is negative but suspicion of herpes remains high.
If I have a positive Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test, does that mean my partner will get infected too?
While the risk of transmission is there, it's not guaranteed your partner will get infected. Taking antiviral medication, using condoms, and avoiding sexual contact during outbreaks can significantly reduce the risk of transmission.
Can the Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test be used to check if my herpes medication is working?
No, the herpes antibody test cannot be used to check the effectiveness of treatment. These antibodies will remain in your system even if the virus is suppressed by antiviral medication.
How can I prevent spreading herpes if my Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test is positive?
Practicing safe sex, taking prescribed antiviral medications, and avoiding sexual activity during outbreaks can significantly reduce the risk of transmission.
Does a positive Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test affect pregnancy or childbirth?
If you're pregnant and have herpes, there's a risk of passing the virus to your baby, particularly if you have an outbreak during childbirth. It's important to discuss your herpes status with your healthcare provider, as antiviral medication can be given to reduce this risk.
Does a Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test screen for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?
No, the test specifically detects antibodies to HSV-1 and HSV-2. If you are at risk for STIs, you may need additional tests.
Can I donate blood if my Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test is positive?
Yes, you can donate blood if you have herpes. Herpes is not transmitted through blood; it is transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact.
How often should I get the Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test?
There's no specific guideline for how often to get tested. However, if you engage in risky sexual behavior, have multiple partners, or a partner with herpes, regular testing is advisable.
Can the Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test detect recent infection?
If done early enough, a negative result followed by a positive result on repeat testing can indicate a recent infection. However, determining the exact timing of infection is difficult with antibody tests.
Can the Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test diagnose shingles or chickenpox?
No, the test cannot diagnose shingles or chickenpox. These diseases are caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is a different herpes virus (herpesvirus type 3).
Can stress affect the Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test result?
Stress doesn't affect the test result, but it can trigger a herpes outbreak in people who have the virus.
Can certain medications affect the Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test result?
here are no known medications that affect the production or detection of herpes antibodies.
What does it mean if my Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody levels are very high?
The antibody levels don't indicate the severity of the infection or the likelihood of outbreaks. A higher level simply confirms exposure to the virus.
Can the Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test diagnose other types of herpes viruses?
No, this test is specific for HSV-1 and HSV-2. Other herpes viruses like Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, or varicella-zoster virus require separate tests for diagnosis.
How should I prepare for a Herpes 1 and 2 Antibody test?
There's no specific preparation needed for the herpes antibody test. You can eat and drink normally before the test. However, make sure to inform your healthcare provider of any medications you're taking as certain drugs might interfere with test results.
We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.