How It Feels
You are likely to feel some mild
discomfort or pain when the sores are scraped to collect a sample for
The blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm. An
elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm. It may feel tight. You may feel
nothing at all from the needle, or you may feel a quick sting or pinch.
If an antibody test is done, there is very
little chance of problems from having a blood sample taken from a vein.
- You may get a small bruise at the site. You can lower the chance
of bruising by keeping pressure on the site for several minutes.
- In rare cases, the vein may become swollen after the blood sample
is taken. This problem is called phlebitis. A warm compress can be used several
times a day to treat this.
- Ongoing bleeding can be a problem for
people with bleeding disorders. Aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), and other
blood-thinning medicines can make bleeding more likely. If you have bleeding or
clotting problems, or if you take blood-thinning medicine, tell your doctor
before your blood sample is taken.
Herpes tests are done to find the
herpes simplex virus (HSV). Results for a rapid viral
culture may take 2 to 3 days, while results for a standard culture can take up
to 14 days. Antigen detection test results are ready in a day. Polymerase chain
reaction (PCR) test results are ready in 1 to 3 days. Results from an antibody
blood test are ready in 2 days. The results from an antibody test called an
enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA, EIA) may be ready in about 2
Normal results are called
No HSV grows in the viral
DNA are found.
antibodies are present in the blood.
Abnormal results that show HSV are called
HSV grows in the viral culture.
HSV antigens or DNA are found.
Antibodies to the herpes virus are present
in the blood.
Samples taken from newly formed sores containing fluid
(blisters) are generally better than samples collected from older, crusted
A normal (negative) test result does not mean you do not
have a herpes infection. If the first test is negative but you have symptoms of
herpes, more tests may be done.