How To Test For Herpes Simplex Virus
There are three standard ways on how to test for Herpes simplex virus. Read on to know more about them.
Viral Culture or Antigen Test
For this test, the doctor needs to get a tissue sample of your blister or sore. He does that by using a Q-tip or cotton ball to scrape off a part of the sore, usually the part with fluid in it. The sample is transferred in a culture dish. It is then examined under a microscope at the laboratory to check for the presence of Herpes antigens. Antigens are substances that cause our immune system to act up. This may be the easiest way how to test for Herpes, but it’s the least reliable because some patients get a negative test result even when they do have the virus.
Blood Test or Antibody Test
If before you didn’t know how to test for Herpes, of course you’re familiar with a blood test. A sample of your blood is taken and examined at the laboratory for the existence of Herpes antibodies in your bloodstream. The body’s immune system naturally creates antibodies—proteins that fight off infections that weaken the body. There are as many kinds of antibodies as there are infections. However, the disadvantage of this test is that even if is determined that there are Herpes antibodies in your blood, it cannot conclusively say whether it’s an old or active infection. And if the infection is only recent, Herpes antibodies might not yet be present in your blood.
Polymerase Chain Reaction Test (PCR)
PCR Test is a kind of DNA test. Blood or spinal fluid from inside the sore is taken. What is examined is the presence of Herpes simplex virus DNA from your sample. Viruses are also living things, and different kinds of viruses each contain a unique DNA signature. The advantage of this test is that it can distinguish whether you have Herpes simplex virus 1 (oral) or 2 (genitals). The test yields more conclusive results when the sample examined is spinal fluid.
If you suspect that you have Herpes, it’s better to be well-informed on how to test for Herpes simplex virus.