While genital herpes is a very common infection, it can be easily misdiagnosed and is often underdiagnosed. While viral detection methods are best for diagnosing genital herpes when lesions are present, type-specific blood tests can be used for patients who are asymptomatic. Yet even for the healthcare provider, understanding the array of tests available can be challenging. For this reason, ASHA recently updated its herpes blood test guide, as a resource for both patients and providers. The chart below provides detailed information on FDA approved type-specific IgG tests.
A few points about the test information in the blood test guide should be noted. Blood tests are recommended 12 to 16 weeks after the time of possible exposure. All of the tests mentioned below are type specific. Rates of sensitivity and specificity are not shown because: 1) all of these tests have acceptable performance rates, 2) some tests have not been compared to a “gold standard,” and, 3) other tests have too much data to summarize in this chart. You can refer to individual product websites for sensitivity and specificity data. Result times listed vary by many factors, such as location of the clinic and lab, clinic volume (batching of tests), and provider availability for follow up. Finally, all of these tests can be used during pregnancy, however some, as part of the FDA clearance process, were specifically studied among pregnant women.
Download the PDF of the blood test guide here.