Herpes is one of the most common sexually transmitted viruses in the U.S., with more than 3 million cases annually. More than half of the U.S. population has oral herpes, and about one in six has genital herpes. Herpes is spread by skin-to-skin contact with infected areas, often during kissing or vaginal, oral or anal sex.
There are two different but similar strains of the herpes virus. Though they are often referred to as either oral or genital herpes, either strain of the virus can cause both. The naming convention refers to where the sores appear and not which strain of the virus is the cause. Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) tends to cause oral herpes and herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) tends to cause genital herpes, but either strain can cause infection of genital or oral areas. Both strains can cause sores to appear on or around your vulva, vagina, cervix, anus, penis, scrotum, butt, inner thighs, lips, mouth, throat and eyes. For example, if you receive oral sex from someone with oral herpes, you will most likely contract the same virus, which will manifest in the form of genital herpes because of the point of contact. It’s also possible to contract both strains of the virus.
The sores typically come and go in what is referred to as an “outbreak.” Though herpes can be painful and an annoyance, it usually doesn’t lead to serious health problems. It does, however, stay in your body for life, and people who have herpes are twice as likely to get HIV compared to people who do not have herpes. People who have herpes and HIV are much more likely to pass HIV to their partners. While there is no cure, patients with herpes are usually prescribed antiviral medication to help control the symptoms and sometimes slow the progression of the infection or prevent passing it to others. With treatment, outbreaks usually become less frequent over time, though the person infected carries the virus with them for life.
Why Should I Order an Early Herpes Detection Test?
If you suspect you’ve been exposed to herpes, it’s likely that you don’t want to wait long to get answers or treatment. Herpes early detection testing, sometimes called a herpes IgM test, can give you results as soon as five days after exposure. It just requires a simple blood test. Other STDs, like syphilis, can sometimes look like herpes, so testing is the only way to know for sure if you’ve contracted herpes. If you would like to be tested for herpes, but don’t have reason to suspect that you contracted the virus recently, it’s better to go with a standard herpes test. The antibodies in your blood that the test screens for tend to phase out within a few months of contracting the virus, so an early herpes detection test may not be accurate if you contracted herpes prior to the previous few months.
What Are the Early Symptoms of Herpes?
Most people who contract herpes experience symptoms within one to two weeks of exposure. Symptoms of herpes, when mild, are often confused for things like the flu, ingrown hairs or pimples. It’s possible you may not see or feel any herpes symptoms. After contracting herpes, the first outbreak typically appears two to 20 days after you’ve been infected. However, it can sometimes take years for the first outbreak to appear. At the beginning of an outbreak of genital herpes, you might notice itchy, tingling or painful bumps on your vagina, vulva, cervix, penis, butt, anus or the inside of your thighs. These blisters will most likely break and turn into sores. You might also experience:
- Difficulty urinating
- Pain around your genitals
- Swollen glands around your pelvic area, throat or underarms
How Long Should I Wait Before Getting Tested?
If you suspect you’ve been exposed to and have possibly contracted herpes, the antibodies necessary to facilitate early herpes detection testing typically appear five to ten days after contact. We recommend waiting ten days before getting tested to ensure the most accurate results. Again, the antibodies necessary for early detection testing disappear after a few months, so it’s best not to wait too long before getting an early herpes detection test.
What Are the Benefits of an Early Herpes Detection Test?
Though there is no cure for herpes, early detection and diagnosis can get you started on antiviral medication that will lessen the symptoms and intensity of outbreaks, possibly before your first outbreak even occurs.
With Priority STD Testing, you can schedule early herpes detection testing as soon as you decide to get tested by either going online or calling. You won’t have to wait for your doctor to have availability. You can schedule a testing appointment right away. Appointments are available Monday through Saturday and typically take less than 15 minutes to complete.
At Priority STD Testing, we strive to make regular STD testing affordable, especially for individuals without insurance. We do not accept any form of private or federal health insurance, with the exception of allowing the use of health savings account (HSA) cards for payment. We do this so that your test results are not communicated to your insurance company and are not included as part of your medical record.
Peace of Mind
The sooner you know you have herpes, the sooner you can begin treatment and begin informing your partners, past and present, of your condition. Herpes is very common and also very manageable with medication. Getting tested will give you the peace of mind of knowing whether or not you have contracted the virus and can begin treatment.
How Do I Order an Early Herpes Detection Test?
Ordering an early herpes detection test through Priority STD Testing is easy and can be done either online or by phone. You can call any time Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CST, and our care counselors are ready to schedule your testing appointment and answer any questions you might have. Our online ordering system is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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