Recently my doctor starting offering the IgM test for herpes and I decided to have it done. I was shocked when he told me my result was positive. Ever since the diagnosis I’ve been really down, so my mom thought I needed a pick me up and booked us on a weeklong Caribbean cruise. Now I’m worried that I may be barred from going because I have herpes-what travel restrictions are there? Do I have to show a doctor’s note that I’m on medication? Please help.
To begin, the test you were given (IgM) is not a reliable test for herpes for many reasons. Simply put, you cannot rely on your result from an IgM test. (link to testing article here). If you are interested in learning your status, we would encourage you to talk with your doctor about having a type-specific IgG test performed. If he or she has questions about what diagnostic tests are available and would be appropriate to your situation, feel free to suggest he or she visit the ASHA website and review the Herpes Blood Test guide.
Currently there are no travel restrictions that would bar any individual with HSV infection from international travel. For years those with HIV have endured travel restrictions so it’s understandable for you to be concerned that HSV may also have restrictions. However, there are currently no restrictions related to HSV and additionally, the United States recently overturned restrictions on those HIV positive entering the United States. This rule previously had been in place since the late 1980s. Some other countries are also following America’s lead in lifting the ban.
So we encourage you to go out and enjoy your cruise. We also encourage you before or after you return to talk to your doctor about having another HSV test done. Bon Voyage!