One of the more widespread sexually transmitted diseases out there today is herpes. Twenty percent of adult Americans currently have this disease and there is currently no cure for it. Despite this, in recent years, the FDA has approved some medication that can fight off the virus and help prevent or reduce the severity of outbreaks. These are acyclovir, famciclovir and valacylovir. These drugs are called antivirals are also useful for reducing the length and discomforts of initial outbreaks.
By using these FDA-approved medications early, an outbreak can actually be prevented. Taken during the middle of an outbreak, the antivirals are capable of reducing the extreme discomfort of outbreaks and speeding up the healing process. Sometimes, however, these do not work in preventing an outbreak. And there is still no herpes cure.
To test for the presence of a herpes infection, doctors use two methods. The first method is called a viral test and involves the analysis of virus cells that are swabbed from lesions that occur during an outbreak. The second method is called a serology or blood test.
When a doctor tests with a viral culture, a swab test is done to gather the cells on a lesion before being sent for analysis at a testing center or hospital laboratory. Even if a lesion can be recognized as a herpes infection by sight, a viral culture will determine if the infection is from the HSV-1 or HSV-2 which can indicate how often outbreaks will occur.
A negative culture can be determined by means of a serology test, or blood test. Blood tests are also useful to determine an infection even when no symptoms are not present. This is because a person who gets infected with the virus will generate herpes antibodies soon after infection. Blood tests will pick these up and they will be able to determine whether these are HSV-1 or HSV-2 type infections. Of course, with no symptoms, there is no way of knowing whether the herpes infection is oral or genital.
There are a lot of blood tests available on the market today but the older ones are not very reliable and can be expensive. The newer tests are cheaper and more accurate but there is no way of knowing what kind of test is being conducted unless you ask.
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