Herpes simplex virus infection, also called genital herpes, is a common sexually-transmitted infection. It causes recurring outbreaks of small, painful, fluid-filled blisters on the genitals in both women and men. The blisters can break and leave painful sores that may take a week or more to heal.
Most people with genital herpes have no symptoms or have very mild symptoms. Mild symptoms may go unnoticed or be mistaken for other skin conditions like a pimple or ingrown hair. Because of this, most people do not know they have a herpes infection, yet close to 19 million people in the United States have HSV.
Common HSV symptoms include:
- Pain, itching or tenderness in the genital area
- Small red bumps or white blisters
- Ulcers, when blisters rupture and ooze or bleed
During a first outbreak, flu-like symptoms (e.g., fever, body aches, or swollen glands) may occur. The virus can also affect other areas of the skin, mouth, lips (cold sores), or eyes.
If you or your partner has symptoms of HSV, or if your partner has been diagnosed with HSV, it is important to be tested.
MicroGenDX Tests Used in Diagnosing HSV
The MicroGenDX test uses a vaginal sample. A MicroGenDX test detects the DNA of the HSV in a sample of cells, and can tell the specific type of HSV that is present within 24-48 hours. This is more reliable than “standard culture” test, where the virus must be grown in a lab and may take up to seven days for a result. You can order that “HSV” test and get sampling instructions here:
Providing Samples for MicroGenDX Tests
You will need to provide two vaginal swab samples for this test. It’s very important to obtain a proper sample by following the instructions for collecting the sample, as well as when packaging and shipping it.
Everything you need to know about taking a sample is included with your test, and is also available online on the product page. The instructions contain illustrations that will help you collect a sample without contaminating it. For example, you will need to wash your hands thoroughly and clean your genital area with soap and water. Be sure to repeat the sampling process with the second swab. Take care not to contaminate the sample with period blood during menstruation.
Medical Specialties Treating HSV
HSV can be treated by a primary care physician, urologist, or OB/GYN.
How HSV is Treated
There is no cure for genital herpes, but antiviral medications (pills or topical ointments) can help relieve symptoms, reduce the frequency of recurrences, and lessen the chance of transmitting the herpes virus to someone else.