This article will give one information on what herpes is and why one should utilize an at home herpes test kit. Herpes is a sexual health-related issue.
Herpes is caused by a combination of highly contagious viruses – Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2).
- HSV-1, aka Oral Herpes, form fever blisters, mainly around lips and mouth area.
- HSV-2, aka Genital Herpes, form sores, mainly around the rectum or genital region. Usually caused due to oral sex, HSV-2 has its presence more on the lower abdomen area.
Once the initial infection subsides, Herpes tends to reside in a dormant state within the certain nerve cells, around the affected region for life. This infection might recur again, due to many reasons. Some common symptoms are:
- Sore urination
- Easy bleeding
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Itchy genitals or anal
- Blisters on the mouth, anus or genitals.
Herpes Testing and Diagnosis
Ideally, the herpes testing should be done after 12 weeks of sexual intercourse. The test might show positive indications of HSV’s antibodies, which are not easily detectable otherwise. For those who are sexually active, it is recommended to have regular tests.
There are other reasons for conducting Herpes tests like;
- You are sexually active
- You’ve had sexual intercourse, without proper precautions
- You’ve injected yourself with a needle, used on someone with positive Herpes identification
- You experience symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases
- You get into a new sexual association
- Your ex-wife or partner informs you of having Herpes or related symptoms.
The tests should be conducted on an empty stomach, in the morning time and sent to your GP before dusk.
Testing Herpes domestically
Usually recommended to be tested by a medical professional, Herpes can also be tested using home test kits. Home herpes test kits help people detect possible herpes infection. This helps them to better understand their disease status and then seek the best treatment and cure as early as possible. Getting tested using home herpes test kits will also reduce the risk of spreading the infectious virus to people at the greatest risk of getting severe complications as a result of this virus infection.
Herpes test kits help for early detection as some infections (like vaginal herpes infections) can spread to bladder and urethra that could cause more damage and then a catheter needs to be inserted to drain the bladder. Even in pregnant women, there is a high risk of the herpes virus infecting the baby if the mother’s vagina is infected with herpes. If the baby gets infected with herpes, severe complications like breathing problems, seizures and even brain damage can take place.
What does at-home Herpes test results mean to you?
A positive test will mean that you are infected with herpes and there is a presence of an active herpes infection. A negative test will mean that the herpes virus is absent, or that it cannot be detected.
Ways to test Herpes
If having blisters or sores, a medical facility could use fluid from that region, using a swab and testing it. If there are no sores, a discussion with a medical practitioner, to refer a Herpes blood test could help. However, generally Herpes tests are recommended only when there are symptoms.
Making it work
Stimulate the test, collect the sample in the morning and return it the same day.
Once sent to the laboratory, the test results should be available within two days.
The medical facility will get in touch with you to discuss and avail necessary treatments.
Accuracy of testing process
The samples are analysed by professionals in the laboratories that are CLIA approved and accredited by CAP being the highest grade of accreditations. The test kits available are usually ISO 1385 accredited.
Ideally as a preventive measure, it is prudent to have a monogamous relationship with someone who is not infected by STDs. In addition, using proper contraceptives before a sexual intercourse. However, there are risks associated with usage of condoms, as they are not 100% reliable. On the other hand, those who have already been identified with herpes should take lifelong medications and ensure safe sex, to defeat the probability of transmitting the infection to your partner.
Where to get an at-home Herpes test kit?
You can call your nearest medical centre or your GP to request for a test kit. This herpes test kit will be mailed to you. You will receive a dried blood spot card (DBS), self-addressed envelope, other test kit items and an informed consent form. There will be instructions as well which you need to follow prior to performing this test. The specimen then needs to be couriered back to the laboratory on the address which would be a part of this test kit. Results usually take 2 – 3 days upon receipt of the specimen by the laboratory.