Three reasons to have a Herpes test with Better2Know:

  • Herpes (including cold sores) can be effectively managed once you have been correctly diagnosed
  • Herpes testing can be performed using a blood sample, even if you do not have symptoms
  • Herpes is one of Australia's most common STIs

What is Herpes?

Herpes is an infectious and common virus which has two distinct types: Herpes Simplex Virus Type One (HSV I), and Herpes Simplex Virus Type Two (HSV II).  

  • Oral Herpes, or HSV I, is a common cause of cold sores around the mouth.   
  • Genital Herpes, or HSV II, is a common cause of blisters in the gential area.

Once you have Herpes, it will stay in your system for the rest of your life. Many people have mild or infrequent outbreaks of Herpes, as the body surpresses the virus. However, for some people with frequent or painful symptoms, medication can help to reduce the severity and decrease the frequency of Herpes outbreaks.

Transmission

Herpes is spread through unprotected oral, vaginal or anal contact with an infected person. This is more likely if the person with the virus has an active outbreak at the time of the physical contact. It is possible to transmit Herpes if you do not have any visible sores or blisters but this is most likely to occur in the week before symptoms start to appear.

Herpes blisters are usually visible on the skin, as cold sores or genital blisters. Sores inside the vagina or anus are usually only present during the first outbreak. Herpes blisters on the mouth and oral area can pass on the virus through kissing, so care should be taken whenever you have an outbreak.

Symptoms

Herpes usually causes blisters which can be itchy and uncomfortable. The first outbreak is usually the most severe. Blisters usually take between two days and three weeks to appear, following the initial infection. The blisters start off as small bumps, developing into full blisters and eventually bursting, releasing pus. Blisters can be small or large, and may be just one blister, or a cluster located close together. Other symptoms can include:

  • Painful itching in the area of the outbreak
  • Burning during urination and/or sex
  • Headaches
  • Swollen glands
  • Muscle aches
  • Feeling tired and run down
Did You Know

An estimated 85% of people in Australia carry the Herpes Simplex I virus, while approximately 20% carry HSV II. Read more.

Testing

Better2Know can test you for the Herpes virus in three different ways:

  • Blood test – our standard test, suitable for an incubation period of four to six weeks
  • Urine test – which is suitable if you have symptoms
  • Swab test – a swab test of the suspected Herpes blister

Results are available within two to five working days from your sample’s arrival at our laboratory. Our comprehensive testing will state whether you have HSV I, HSV II, both infections, or neither of the two.

Treatment

If you have Herpes, it will remain in the body for a lifetime. There is currently no specific treatment, but there is medication to control the outbreaks as they occur. Many HSV I outbreaks can be controlled with over-the-counter remedies.

Less than half of infected patients will get recurrent, painful outbreaks. There are medications available to decrease both the frequency and the severity of Herpes outbreaks. Anti-viral medications are available through your doctor (both creams and pills), which can help control the infection. Maintaining good hygiene and a healthy diet can also help to manage your condition.

Potential Consequences

Herpes should be of particular concern if you or your partner is pregnant and the woman has her first outbreak during the pregnancy. You should always take the advice of your doctor or midwife.

Primary Herpes, where the blisters are near the vaginal opening, may cause a problem during delivery, and could cause the virus to be passed on to the baby. This can result in serious neo-natal infections. In such cases, a caesarean section may be necessary. This is why it is important to discuss your outbreaks with your midwife.

A recurrent Herpes outbreak (referring to more than one outbreak) when your baby is due, is unlikely to cause this problem, so a natural birth is usually recommended for most women. Any pregnant woman with Herpes should discuss this with their doctor or midwife.

There is also an increased chance of recurrent symptoms during pregnancy. These will not harm your baby but do mean that some women who have not previously had symptoms may notice them for the first time. If you are in any way concerned, please consult a healthcare professional.

Booking your Herpes test

To book your Herpes test with Better2Know today please call our experienced team on the telephone number above. Alternatively, you can arrange your appointment online by selecting the Book Now button at the top of the page.