As herpes can be symptomless, it's important that you get tested at least once and every time you change sexual partner. If you have no signs of infection, a blood test can detect antibodies from the herpes simplex virus (HSV). However, as it can take weeks for antibodies to show up, the HSV test may indicate that you don't have the condition when you do. This is another reason why regularly testing is essential. If you are having an outbreak, a swab can be taken from a sore or blister or you can provide a urine sample. The tests will establish whether you have genital or oral herpes - the latter can travel to the genitals during oral sex.
If you do test positive, it is vital you contact any previous sexual partners as they may be at risk and spread the infection to others.
You can be tested for herpes in different ways. We recommend you choose a place and a method that is the most comfortable for you.
Both a genital herpes test and an oral herpes test can be done at:
- your own home with a self-collecting test
- a sexual health clinic
- a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic
- your GP
- a contraception and young people's clinic
Whether or not you have symptoms of herpes, if you don't want to get tested by your GP or at a sexual health clinic you can order an easy-to- use genital herpes self-collection test kit from our online sexual health shop. A home genital herpes test is simple, inexpensive and painless. All that is required is a urine sample or swab from a blister or sore. Getting a herpes test online means everything can be done discreetly in a place and time convenient for you and you get your results one to three days after your sample reaches the laboratory.
This can be done two ways:
- a urine sample will be analysed in the laboratory. For a reliable result, don't pee for two hours before
- a sore or blister is swabbed with clean cotton and its cells will be collected for anaylsis
In 2013, 32,279 people visited a sexual health clinic in England having developed herpes for the first time.
The self-collection home test for herpes is highly sensitive and its results are comparable to the usual clinical tests as it's tested in a laboratory. Only the first step - sampling - is done by you at home. The test is reliable and accurate, whether you choose to test by a urine sample or swab. The self-collection test could be right for you because:
- You can do it on your own, in private, at a time convenient for you. There is no rush, which you might find at a sexual health clinic.
- Your sample is sent to the largest independent provider of clinical laboratory diagnostic services in the UK - The Doctor's Laboratory. Laboratory testing is the most accurate way of testing.
- It doesn't matter if you take a test at your home or at the clinic as both of them are going to laboratories to be checked. The only difference is, if you order a herpes self-collection kit you only have to wait one to five days to get the results whereas in a clinic, you may have to wait up to 10 days.
Last updated September 6, 2016