This laboratory test is performed on a blood sample to detect the presence of Herpes simplex virus (HSV) DNA in the blood that may indicate a herpes infection. Herpes is a contagious disease that may cause painful blisters at the site of infection.
Why is this test performed?
This test is performed:
To detect the presence of Herpes simplex virus in the body
To help in the diagnosis of Herpes infection
To differentiate between infection caused by HSV-1 and HSV-2
To detect herpes infection in pregnant females to determine the risk of transmission to the child.
Collecting sample: A healthcare professional will collect blood from your vein into a test tube or from the heel stick, in the case of infants.
The sample is sent to the laboratory for analysis.
What are the symptoms of HSV-1 infection?
Burning sensation around the mouth
Small painful blisters around lips
Swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
What are the symptoms of HSV-2 infection?
Tingling in the genitals, thighs or buttocks
Small painful blisters on and around genitals
Swollen lymph nodes in the groin
What are the risk factors of Herpes?
Gender: Females are more prone to catching this virus.
Unprotected sex: Having sex with an infected partner without protection.
Multiple sex partners: People who have more than one sex partner are at a higher risk of getting this infection.
Infected mother: During childbirth, this virus can be transmitted from the infected mother to the unborn.
Weak immune system: People with weakened immune systems are susceptible to all kinds of infections.
How to manage herpes infection?
Although, there is no treatment for Herpes but following medicines can help decrease the frequency of outbreaks, and relieve the symptoms:
Anti-viral: Medicines like acyclovir and Valaciclovir have been found helpful for the treatment of Herpes Labialis and Herpes in cancer patients.
Analgesics: Medicines like ibuprofen and paracetamol can reduce the pain in fever in herpes patients.
Topical medicines: Topical medicines are also used to relieve symptoms like itching and pain. Prilocaine, Lidocaine, and tetracaine have been found effective.
How to prepare for this test?
No special preparations are required for this test. However, inform your doctor about your complete medical history. Wear a half-sleeved or loose shirt to aid the collection of sample.
What are the risks of this test?
Collecting blood from a vein is a very easy procedure and pose only minimum risk, including:
Negative or positive:
Interpretation of test results:
Negative: A negative test result indicates that HSV is not detected
Positive: A positive test result indicates the presence of Herpes simplex virus 1 or 2. It indicates an active herpes infection.
If you have the sign and symptoms of a herpes infection
If your doctor suspects herpes infection
If newborn shows sign and symptoms of neonatal herpes
If you’re pregnant with a history of herpes infection.