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Herpes Simplex Virus HSV 1 and 2 IgG Antibodies

Also Known As: Herpes Simplex Virus 1 And 2, HSV Culture, HSV1 and 2 Igg Test, HSV Type-Specific Antibodies Test, Serum HSV Test

What Is A Herpes Simplex Virus 1 And 2 (IgG), Type-Specific Antibodies Test?

The Herpes simplex virus antibody test is a blood test that helps determine whether you have been exposed to the virus. It checks for the presence of HSV 1 and 2 antibodies to confirm the diagnosis. Herpes simplex virus is a common infection that leads to herpes. It can appear in different parts of your body but most commonly impact your genitals and mouth. The two kinds of herpes infections are HSV 1 and HSV 2.

HSV 1 is commonly known as oral herpes that usually causes cold sores and blisters on your mouth or the face. HSV 2, on the other hand, can lead to genital herpes as it is usually transmitted through sexual contact. Both the viruses don't always cause symptoms, and you may not know when you have got the infection. This test does not check for the HSV infection itself but analyses whether you have antibodies to the virus or not.

Antibodies are proteins produced by your immune system to fight against certain kinds of pathogens, i.e., bacteria and viruses. The test is often used to see if you have antibodies against HSV 1 or HSV 2 (two kinds of herpes simplex virus). A few days after you are first infected, your body starts making two relevant types of HSV antibodies. These antibodies are also referred to as IgG and IgM antibodies. IGG antibodies are the most common kind that your body makes when you first come into contact with the virus or bacteria. It can easily be found in your blood and other body fluids during laboratory testing.

What Is The Test Used For?

The purpose of the test is to identify the evidence of a herpes simplex infection. Testing for oral and genital herpes can be ordered by your doctor or health care provider due to the following reasons:

  • The doctor wants to confirm the diagnosis of herpes simplex virus infection in people with symptoms
  • To diagnose patients with a history of genital sores without any symptoms
  • To identify a potential HSV infection in pregnant females without any relatable symptoms
  • To understand if your sexual partner with herpes simplex virus is susceptible to the infection
  • To estimate and analyze the frequency of your symptoms and outbreaks

Why And When Do You Need A Herpes Simplex Virus 1 And 2 (Igg), Type-Specific Antibodies?

If you show evident signs and symptoms, your doctor or physician can order a serum herpes simplex antibodies test. The virus is not always the cause of concern, but when it is, you can experience the following:

The signs and symptoms of HSV 1 infection include:

  • Small and fluid-filled blisters around the mouth
  • Burning or tingling sensation around nose and mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Feeling feverish
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck

The symptoms of HSV 2 are:

  • Open sores or small blisters in the genital area
  • Tingling or burning sensation in the genital area
  • Foul, abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Muscle aches
  • Headache
  • High fever
  • Painful urination

What Kind Of Sample Is Required For The Tests?

This test works by looking in your blood for HSV 1 and HSV 2 antibodies, typically the IgG type. Your doctor will first clean and disinfect your arm with an antiseptic during the procedure. After tying an elastic band around your upper arm, they will gently insert the needle in the vein. After collecting enough blood in a small test tube or vial, the sample will be sent to a laboratory to be tested for the presence of herpes simplex virus antibodies.

Do You Need To Prepare For The Test?

No special preparation is required, but you should still talk to your doctor about taking any medications or supplements.

Are There Any Risks To This Test?

Since it is a standard blood test, the procedure does not involve any unique risks. 
You may experience pain, inflammation, and bruising around the puncture site in rare cases.

What Do The Test Results Mean?

There are two possible antibodies that your body can produce In response to the herpes simplex virus 1 and 2. A negative test result for Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2 (IgG), Type-Specific Antibodies is considered normal. This generally means that you have never contracted the herpes virus before. 

However, your results can come back negative even when you have had the virus for the past few months. This is termed as a false negative result. 
Rarely, your body can take several weeks to develop IgG antibodies against the Herpes simplex virus. If you are taking the test before showing symptoms and earlier in your infection, it is possible to have false negatives. In such circumstances, your doctor or health care provider recommends that you return in about 3 weeks to be tested again.

A positive test result indicates that you have contracted the virus at some point in your life. 
The test results allow your doctor to differentiate between HSV 1 and HSV 2, which is almost impossible by visually examining the blisters and sores.

Related Tests: Chlamydia Testing, HIV Testing, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Test, Syphilis Tests.

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