Your doctor usually can diagnose genital herpes based on a physical exam and the results of certain laboratory tests:
- Viral culture. This test involves taking a tissue sample or scraping of the sores for examination in the laboratory.
- Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. PCR is used to copy your DNA from a sample of your blood, tissue from a sore or spinal fluid. The DNA can then be tested to establish the presence of HSV and determine which type of HSV you have.
- Blood test. This test analyzes a sample of your blood for the presence of HSV antibodies to detect a past herpes infection.
May 17, 2017
- Genital herpes: CDC detailed fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes-detailed.htm. Accessed Jan. 19, 2017.
- Klausner JD, et al., eds. Genital herpes. In: Current Diagnosis & Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2007. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed Jan. 18, 2017.
- Albrecht MA. Epidemiology, clinical manifestations and diagnosis of genital herpes simplex virus infection. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 18, 2017.
- Longo DL, et al., eds. Herpes simplex virus infections. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed Jan. 18, 2017.
- Frequently asked questions. Gynecologic problems FAQ054. Genital herpes. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Genital-Herpes. Accessed Jan. 19, 2017.