Description: The Herpes simplex virus 2 test is a test that is used to measure the herpes antibodies to detect a previous infection of herpes.
Also Known As: Herpes Simplex Virus 2 IgG Type-Specific Antibodies Test, Herpes, Herpes 2 Test, Herpes IgG Test, Herpes 2 IgG Test
Collection Method: Blood Draw
Specimen Type: Serum
Test Preparation: No preparation required
When is a Herpes 2 Antibody test ordered?
When someone has a blister on their genitals, a herpes test may be recommended.
Antibody testing for HSV is usually requested when someone is being screened for a previous HSV infection. When a current infection is suspected, acute and convalescent HSV antibody tests may be conducted.
When someone has another STD and is at risk for infection, a healthcare provider may request an HSV antibody test. Multiple sexual partners, a sexual partner with herpes, HIV infection, or being at risk for HIV because the person is a guy who has sex with men are all risk factors.
What does a Herpes 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 2 Antibody test:
- Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (IgG), Type-Specific Antibody (HerpeSelect®)
- STD Panel
Conditions where a Herpes 2 Antibody test is recommended:
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases
How does my health care provider use a Herpes 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 (acute and convalescent samples). 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 2 antibody test results mean?
A positive IgG antibody test for 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.
HSV 2 IGG, TYPE SPECIFIC AB - Diagnose HSV-2 infection when lesions are absent.
- <0.90 Negative
- 0.90-1.09 Equivocal
- >1.09 Positive
This assay utilizes recombinant type-specific antigens to differentiate HSV-1 from HSV-2 infections. A index positive result cannot distinguish between recent and past infection. If recent HSV infection is suspected but the results are negative or equivocal, the assay should be repeated in 4-6 weeks. The performance index characteristics of the assay have not been established for pediatric populations, immunocompromised patients, or neonatal screening.
Individuals infected with HSV may not exhibit detectable IgG antibody in the early stages of infection.
We advise having your results reviewed by a licensed medical healthcare professional for proper interpretation of your results.