Genital herpes is an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. There are two types of herpes, type 1 & type 2. Type 1 causes sores on & around the mouth (cold sores). Genital herpes, or type 2, is considered to be a sexually transmitted infection because it is more frequently passed on through sexual contact.
The main symptoms of herpes type 2 are painful blisters that develop on & around the genitals & which can turn into sores. In many cases, a person can carry the virus without symptoms, which is why many more people actually have the disease than are aware of it (at least 8 out of 10 people who have herpes are not aware that they do).
When should I get tested?
You should get tested for herpes if you are experiencing symptoms. The test involves either a swab or a blood test, depending on your case, & you can ask which kind of test is best for you when you see the doctor. The symptoms of herpes are different for different people. Shortly after initial contraction of the virus, outbreaks can happen a number of times per year. The longer you have the disease, the less severe & frequent your outbreaks. Antiviral drugs can usually control outbreaks, & in some cases prevent them altogether. Symptoms may not appear immediately after exposure to HSV, but if they do, you will notice them quite quickly (4 – 7 days after initial exposure).
What the test includes?
The test for herpes involves either a blood test or skin swabs, depending on your case.