To transmit the herpes virus to an uninfected person, an individual should not just expose himself to the virus, but a microscopic crack must exist on the surface of the skin to allow an intrusion of the virus in this person. These microscopic cracks are not noticeable to the naked eye and can easily be created during normal sexual intercourse.
For the genital area, these can be found during normal penetration or oral sex in the vagina, penis, and anus as well as nearby areas. These microscopic cracks serve as entry points for the virus, even when a person is well lubricated. For the labial region, the same thing can happen when two people kiss or perform genital oral sex.
Screening for herpes type 1 and type 2
To detect herpes type 1 or type 2, there are two tests commonly used by the health community to establish a diagnosis. This is in addition to home STD testing kits available in online stores.
When a lesion is apparent, a doctor may take a sample of the lesion in question. However, it must be collected quickly and during a specific window in order to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. Otherwise, the result of the test could return false negative because no virus could be detected at the time of sampling. A second sample collection and/or blood test for a serology test may be necessary to establish a diagnosis.
Serology tests (blood test)
A blood test may be performed in a patient to detect the presence of antibodies that develop in a positive person on average over a period of 12 to 18 months (and sometimes longer) after the time of transmission of the virus. Two separate blood tests must be performed, one for type 1 and the second for type 2.
This type of test sometimes leads to errors in the interpretation of results by physicians. If the test is performed soon after virus transmission, the results may be inconclusive and lead to misinterpretation at the low number of antibodies present at the time of testing. But much like the principle of HIV testing, a second blood test can be done a few months later to validate the first test by comparing the results to see if the number of antibodies in the blood has increased.
The western blot serology test (blood test)
This test is not available in public clinics but is available in some specialized sexual health clinics. The cost of the test is usually at the expense of the patient and is not covered by public plans. This blood test, which is popular in the United States gives much more accurate results when measuring antibodies. Many Americans also rely on home STD testing kits as a preliminary measure.
What if I have a doubt about the results of my diagnosis?
As with any medical condition, errors may occur when testing or interpreting the results. If in doubt, it is highly recommended to seek a second opinion from another doctor or sexual health specialist. There are specialized medical clinics for sexual health. These clinics are staffed by expert doctors who specialize in the field of sexual health and can help you. You can consult the list of specialized sexual health clinics in the corresponding section on this site.
Is there a cure for herpes or a vaccine?
Unfortunately, science has not yet found a cure for herpes. Once infected with herpes type 1 or type 2, a person is a carrier for life. There is no vaccine to prevent transmission. Several charlatans on the internet claim that they have a miracle cure and are trying to take advantage of the vulnerability of people struggling with this situation to extract money by selling fake remedies or the like. We must, therefore, be wary of natural products and miracle products because no research study has been conducted to prove the claims.
Is this the end of my sex life and love? Definitely not. There are tools to control the situation and reduce the risk of transmission to an uninfected partner. A positive diagnosis of genital herpes does not mean the end of a love life. You only have to learn to live with this new situation. However, a newly diagnosed person needs to give himself some time to absorb and understand this new reality.