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Getting tested

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Getting tested for genital herpes isn’t as straightforward as getting tested for other sexually transmitted infections, and may require both a blood test and a swab. Diagnosis of this condition is often missed as routine sexual health checks do not test for herpes.

Although it is possible to confirm the presence of HSV-2 through a blood test, confirming whether the condition is present in the genital or facial region usually requires a swab test.

This involves the doctor taking a swab from the base of a lesion, and testing it for the presence of the virus. This test will only detect the virus in 80% of cases when a person has their first outbreak, and is ineffective if no lesions are present. As a result, a blood test, which can be taken at any time, is often needed to confirm a diagnosis.

Speak to your doctor if you are experiencing any symptoms associated with genital herpes and ask to get tested. It is also important to practise safer sex, such as using condoms, during this time.