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Genital Herpes - Exams and Tests

Your doctor may be able to diagnose genital herpes from your medical history and a physical exam, especially if the herpes sores are typical in appearance. Your doctor may ask you the following questions:

  • Do you think you were exposed to genital herpes or another sexually transmitted infection (STI)? How do you know? Did your partner tell you?
  • What are your symptoms?
    • Do you have sores in the genital area or anywhere else on your body?
    • Do they usually come and go?
    • Do you have any urinary symptoms, including frequent urination, burning or stinging with urination, or urinating in small amounts?
    • If you have discharge from the vagina or penis, does it have any smell or color?
  • What method of birth control do you use? Did you use condoms to protect against STIs?
  • What are your sexual practices and your partner's sexual practices?
  • Have you had an STI in the past? How was it treated?

If this is your first outbreak of suspected genital herpes, further testing may be done to confirm the diagnosis.

Recommended Related to Genital Herpes

Genital Herpes Glossary of Terms

You may hear some of the words and terms that follow as you learn about genital herpes. We have chosen some that seem obvious, but have slightly different meanings when used in the context of genital herpes. For example, you may think you know what genitals are, but read the definition. Antibodies Antibodies are proteins that circulate in the body. Whenever a person is exposed to a new pathogen (a virus or bacterium), the immune system creates specific antibodies for it. When an antibody...

Read the Genital Herpes Glossary of Terms article > >

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 14, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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