Friday, 18 May 2012

Herpes Blood Test

There are two main types of herpes virus called herpes simplex virus 1 and herpes simplex virus 2 which causes this disease. Simplex 1 virus causes the oral herpes which affects the area around the lips, nose and mouth whereas Simplex 2 virus causes genital herpes which affects the area around buttocks, inner thighs and genital area. Both the herpes virus is contagious and can spread through skin to skin contact or sexual contact. There are various different ways of getting the test done for both the viruses and blood test is one of them.

The herpes blood test has a very different approach and it works by measuring the herpes simplex antibodies level inside your body.  The antibodies are the substance which is produced by the immune system so as to fight with the infection including herpes. The blood test finds out the presence of antibodies in blood or serum.

Time to perform blood test for herpes

The herpes blood test can be performed even if you do not face any signs or symptoms of herpes. In case if any antibodies of herpes are present in your blood then it means that herpes lies latent in your body. Blood test is an effective way to detect the herpes infection as it can also be done even if there are no symptoms. Moreover swabbing of lesion is also not required in blood test thus it can also be done even in cases when symptoms have faded. People having history of genital symptoms can go for the type specific blood test.

Effectiveness of herpes blood test

There is always a possibility for any test to give inaccurate results as no test is perfect. But still the effectiveness of herpes blood test mainly depends upon its sensitivity and specificity.

Timing plays a major role in effectiveness of blood test.  During the time of having the first exposure to the herpes it may take several weeks for antibodies to develop in the blood. Thus if you will perform the test too early it will not diagnose any antibodies and will give false and negative results.

There are some blood tests which are not able to find out the difference between the two types of herpes simplex (HSV1 and HSV2). Thus if you wish to have an accurate diagnose of herpes type then type specific test should be done.

Type specific blood test

In order to find out the specific type of herpes, the type specific blood tests need to be performed. These tests are not dependent on the class and type of antibody but mainly depends upon what the antibodies are mainly directed against which are also referred as their antigens.

The most specific antibodies in herpes are directed against a protein which is called glycoprotein G (gG). The gG in HSV 1 has a substantial difference from the gG in HSV2.

Limitations of herpes blood test

The herpes blood test can detect the presence of herpes antibodies but it still has some limitations as it cannot detect the following:

-      whether the symptoms are due to the presence of herpes

-      which part of body(lips or genitals) are infected by herpes and

-      Whether you will develop the symptoms and signs of herpes.

A time period of about 6 to 8 weeks may be needed for a blood test in order to detect the presence of   antibodies in the body.

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 19th, 2009 at 2:01 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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