False positive herpes test

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Here’s Why Doctors Don’t Usually Test for Herpes

false positive herpes   test

False Positives, False Negatives & Type I & II Errors

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It does not identify the actual virus but rather the immune proteins called antibodies that your body produces in response to the infection. Immunoglobulin G IgG is one type of antibody that is "tailor-made" to attack a specific disease-causing agent called a pathogen. Unlike IgG antibodies that stay in the body for a lifetime, IgM antibodies are short-lasting and can only be detected during an active or recent infection. A herpes IgG test is typically used to confirm a genital herpes infection. It can be performed alongside a herpes viral culture in which fluid from an open sore is cultured in the lab or an HSV polymerase chain reaction in which HSV DNA is detected from cells of fluids in a genital sore.

Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease STD. For basic information about Genital Herpes, see the Fact Sheet. CDC does not recommend herpes testing for people without symptoms. This is because diagnosing genital herpes in someone without symptoms has not shown any change in their sexual behavior e. Also, false positive test results test results that say you have herpes when you do not actually have the virus are possible.

In a perfect world, testing for STIs would be as simple as taking an online quiz. You'd plug in your answers, hit submit, and boom: Seconds later, you'd have your outcome. More importantly, the results would be accurate. Unfortunately, in the case of certain sexually transmitted infections — herpes included — securing your status isn't straightforward. Without a herpes outbreak present such as a cold sore , it's extremely difficult to know whether or not you're HSV-positive , and herpes testing is so flawed and misunderstood that doctors say it leads to unnecessary stress.

Also, false positive test results (test results that say you have herpes when you do not actually have the virus) are possible. Even if you do not have symptoms.
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It can be incredibly stressful to wonder if you have herpes. That's true whether you're concerned because of symptoms because you know you've just been exposed, or for any other reasons. One way to determine whether or not you have genital herpes or oral herpes infection is to get a herpes blood test. That said, many people have questions about how accurate herpes blood tests are. The truth is that herpes blood tests work reasonably well, but no test is perfect. That's one reason doctors may be reluctant to test for herpes. They worry about balancing the patient's desire to know with the potential emotional damage caused by a positive herpes blood test result.

Tests commonly used to diagnose oral and genital herpes are often unreliable, missing some cases of infection and, in others, identifying an infection that does not exist, say researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The high rate of false-positive HSV-2 tests was particularly troubling, said Dr. Anna Wald , who led the research. When the antibodies are detected, the test is positive, meaning that the person is infected by the virus. No detected antibodies indicates no infection. Electron microscope image of herpes simplex viruses. For HSV-1, the researchers found that, among the people whose immunoassay registered as positive, were confirmed infected by blot test, suggesting that a positive immunoassay result for HSV-1 is likely reliable.

The Accuracy of a Herpes Blood Test

H erpes is a lifelong infection, but Lauren had it only for six tumultuous months. But blood tests can be highly unreliable. The cutoff for a positive result on the HerpeSelect test, manufactured by Quest Diagnostics, is 1.


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