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Herpes Diagnosis

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[Reprinted with permission from].

Most doctors do NOT include a test for herpes during routine STD testing for their patients. This is because many doctors are not up-to-date about herpes blood tests and effective treatments. So unless you specifically ask your doctor to give you a blood test for herpes, it is unlikely that you or your friends or partners have ever been tested for herpes. So start asking specifically for a herpes blood test. And whenever necessary, bring your doctor some of the information and links from this website so that they can become better informed – for their next patients!

Herpes Lab Cultures

Many doctors and health care professionals are not up-to-date about herpes diagnosis and will tell you that the only way to accurately diagnose whether or not you have the genital herpes virus is by taking a swab from an active herpes sore or lesion and sending it to the lab for a culture test. However, this only works if the patient’s sore is fairly new or else the virus may no longer be active. Because most people have few, mild or no outbreaks, we recommend getting a herpes blood test whether or not any active sores or lesions are present.

Herpes Blood Tests

Many out-of-date doctors will tell you that there are no reliable blood tests for herpes that can accurately distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2. These doctors *used to* be right. And some of the old, inaccurate blood tests are still out there. But medicine has made great strides, and since 1999, there are several NEW IgG blood tests now available that DO very accurately distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2 and are 97-100% ACCURATE, if taken no earlier than 12-16 weeks after your exposure to the virus.

Since some doctors and clinics are still using the older, inaccurate blood tests – always make sure to find out the name of the company and test that your doctor or lab is ordering for herpes blood tests, and make sure it is one of the tests on the “good” list and not one of the tests on the “bad” list.

Good Herpes Blood Tests Reference Guide

Click here to view the Recommended Herpes Blood Tests Reference Guide from the American Social Health Association (ASHA). Give a copy to your doctor!

Some of the Good Tests include: Captia ELISA HSV1 and HSV2 Tests from Trinity Biotech USA, HerpeSelect 1&2 Differentiation Immunoblot from Focus Diagnostics, and the Western Blot Test from University of Washington, considered to be the “gold standard” for all herpes blood tests.

Old, Innacurate Herpes Blood Tests List

Here is a list of some of the old, inaccurate Herpes Blood Tests and their names. Make sure your doctor is NOT using one of these:
– Diasorin, Herpes 1 or 2 IgG Clin-ELISATM, Stillwater, MN
– Zeus, HSV-1 and/or HSV-2 ELISA Test System, Raritan, NJ
– Sigma, Herpes 1-IgG, Herpes 2-IgG, St Louis, MO
– Wampole Labs, HSV-1 IgG ELISA, HSV-2 IgG ELISA, Cranbury, NJ

Planned Parenthood Confidential Herpes Testing

If you do not have health insurance, you can sometimes get a type-specific herpes blood test done at local public health clinics funded by your city, county or state. Check your local listings for the public health clinic near you. Unfortunately, not all public health clinics do type-specific herpes blood tests, so you might want to call first before making the trip. In many cities, Planned Parenthood offers herpes blood tests.   In some areas, like San Francisco, Planned Parenthood, the  cost is for a herpes blood test is $55 as of December 2011. This is a good price, but Planned Parenthood only offers a blood test for HSV2, not HSV1 (probably because 60%-80% of people will test positive for HSV1 so the info is less useful).  If you have a current outbreak in your genital region that is the only time herpes tests are free.   Additional donations are always welcome.
Here is the link for Planned Parenthood in the SF Bay Area: Planned Parenthood Shasta-Pacific

Private Confidential Lab Testing

In most states, you can order your own CONFIDENTIAL blood tests for STDs including herpes by using services like or or Most of these services use the HerpeSelect tests from Focus Diagnostics, but you should ask to see which test is being ordered to be sure.  ( for sure uses the HerpeSelect HSV1 & 2 IgG tests). Most Herpes blood test panels  costs between $98-$149, depending on the service and whether or not you are being tested for HSV1, HSV2 or both.  We recommend getting tested for both, or at least for HSV2. The fees include the laboratory testing, preparation of the order, physician supervision of ordering and interpretation of the results, pre-test counseling, post-test counseling, and any confirmatory testing that may be required. You enter your zip code and it will tell you all the local labs near you which will do the tests. You must sign up for the tests online and your credit card will be charged before you go to the lab. These companies also offer tests for other STD’s which you may or may not want to take. Your results are confidential and are not part of your regular medical records.


You must WAIT AT LEAST 12-16 WEEKS after you were exposed to herpes, in order to give the virus antibodies enough time to develop in your blood stream. Otherwise the blood tests may not be accurate.

  • Bay Area Resident says:

    I thought I would let you know Planned Parenthood on Valencia (San Francisco) does not provide free Herpes blood testing. The cost is $55 as of December 2011.
    If you have a current outbreak in your genital region that is the only time herpes tests are free. If you have any outbreak on your lip you must pay full price to test.

    12/22/2011 at 1:07 pm

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