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Genital Herpes (cont.)

Genital Herpes Diagnosis

Many doctors will begin treatment based only on the appearance of the sores, if the sores seem typical of herpes. Doctors may also take a swab of the sore and send the swab to the laboratory to see if the virus is present. A number of types of tests may be ordered to establish the diagnosis, including:

  • a culture of the virus;
  • polymerase chain reaction to demonstrate the genetic material of the virus; and
  • tests using antibodies to the genital herpes virus to demonstrate the presence of the virus in clinical specimens.

These types of tests generally require at least a few days for results to be obtained. In some cases, blood tests to confirm the presence of an immune response to the herpes virus may be ordered.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/11/2015

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