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- Best budget option: STD Check
- Best report: Everlywell
- Best in-person testing option: Priority STD
- Best for fast results: myLAB Box
Two viruses called the herpes simplex virus type 1 and 2 are the cause of genital herpes.
If you haven’t had an initial outbreak, the best time to get tested for herpes is 12 days after exposure, since the incubation period is 2 to 12 days.
“It is possible that you won’t be able to detect it for up to 12 days after you have been exposed.”
You can schedule an appointment with a doctor in person, who can use a few different tests to determine your diagnosis. These tests may include some.
- A culture test.
- The test is for detecting the virus.
- A test for antibodies.
- The test is a polymerase chain reaction.
An at- home test can be done by yourself.
You can order a kit online, which may include a sample for a blood test, and send it back in the mail. Most companies will send you your results in 5 days.
Sexually transmitted infections include genital herpes. You can contract it by having sex with someone who has the disease.
It is possible that oral herpes can be caused by the same disease. You can contract oral herpes by kissing someone who already has the disease.
The oral herpesviruses can be spread through oral sex, and can lead to genital herpes if you have it.
It takes anywhere from 4 to 7 days for the symptoms to show. Other possible symptoms include blisters around your mouth or genitals.
- During urination, there is pain.
- It was itching.
- There is a high degree of fever.
- Swelling of the lymph nodes.
“Some people don’t experience any symptoms, but they can still transmit the infection to others.”
We considered online reviews, privacy protocols, result times, and accuracy when researching at- home herpes tests.
We wanted affordable pricing and accessibility. We kept an eye on user ratings and reviews to make sure that most people received accurate results and were happy with their experience.
Best budget option
- Price: $89
- Type of sample: finger prick
- Results: online results in 2 to 5 days
The myLAB Box at- home genital herpes test is easy to take with a finger. The lab results are provided online.
You will receive materials to take your finger-prick sample in discreet packaging when you order a kit. It comes with instructions and a pre-paid envelope to send the sample for testing.
“If your results are positive, you can schedule a free consultation with one of myLAB Box’s physicians. The company works with labs that are certified. The website is compliant with the health care law.”
Testing is not available in New York as the company is waiting for the state to approve its application.
- Price: $149
- Type of sample: finger prick and vaginal swab or urine sample
- Results: online results in 2 to 5 days
For $150, women can test for seven common STDs. The test requires a finger and vaginal sample, since it is for various STDs.
Men can also test for herpes by purchasing the company’s STD Test for Men ($149). It looks for the same seven STIs as the women’s test. Sample types include a finger prick and a urine sample instead.
“The kit includes both ways to ship and detailed instructions. You will need to register your kit on Everlywell’s website once it arrives, using the unique ID number included in your box.”
“You will receive a finger prick sample, vaginal swab packet, urine cup and urine sample tube, and a men’s testing kit in your kit.”
You will receive digital results on your account after you have shipped your sample. If your results are positive, a board certified physician in your state will contact you to discuss your case and prescribe medication if necessary. Everlywell will give you a report detailing what you may have.
The site is reviewed by a physician. Your medical information is kept private and approved by healthcare professionals.
Best in-person testing option
- Price: $99
- Type of sample: urine and blood sample
- Results: online results in 24 to 72 hours
Priority STD has a 4.9 rating on Trustpilot with more than 1,300 reviews.
You can order the Priority STD individual herpes 1/2 test online or by phone, but it usually takes at least 12 days after exposure to get a test.
The company also offers early detection herpes testing for $198, which can identify the presence of HSV as soon as 10 days after exposure.
You will be directed to a lab near you after you place an order. You can make an appointment with the online scheduling system on the site, which has over 4,000 labs to choose from.
Within 24 to 72 hours after the test is taken, results are processed online through a secure patient login.
Best for fast results
- Price: $45 (or $90 for HSV-1 and HSV-2)
- Type of Sample: blood test
- Results: online results in 1 to 2 days
STD Check has thousands of testing sites. You can choose between the two tests, which are for $45 each. You can also order a 10-test panel, which includes the most common STDs.
The company sends test results in 1 to 2 days.
You can choose a local testing center based on your ZIP code once you complete your online order. The company says that in-person tests take 5 minutes.
Your test and results will be kept confidential. If your test results are positive, you can ask the doctor questions about your diagnosis.
Your test results will be reported as negative or positive.
- Negative. The herpes virus was not found. However, you may still have an HSV infection if your results were negative. It may mean the sample didn’t have enough virus to be detected. If you still have symptoms of herpes, you may need to order another test.
- Positive. HSV was found in your sample. It may mean you have an active infection (i.e., you currently have sores) or contracted the virus in the past (i.e., you have no sores).
If your test results show a positive result, you should talk to a doctor.
If you notice any sores on your genitals, you should talk to a doctor. Other STDs, like syphilis, can look like STDs but need different treatment. It is necessary to prevent transmission and complications.
Your doctor can help you get treatment if you test for a sexually transmitted disease, and they will let you know if you should test for it.
Are at-home herpes tests accurate?
“The same type of samples are used in these tests. When you get tested, the test’s accuracy is dependent on that.”
When should I get tested?
The best time to get tested for herpes if you haven’t had an initial outbreak is 12 days after exposure. This is because your body will have had time to produce antibodies that can be detected on a test.
A blood test can tell you if you have these antibodies.
The virus can be detected from an active herpes lesion.
Who should get tested?
Anyone who has a symptom of the disease should get tested.
How can I prevent transmitting herpes?
Although latex condoms can reduce the risk of transmitting most STIs by 98 percent, condoms don’t prevent herpes transmission. This is because not all herpes sores occur in areas that are covered by a condom.
If you’re experiencing an active outbreak, you can
- Until symptoms go away, avoid sexual activity.
- Applying cotton swabs to reduce contact with sores is a good way to wash your hands.
Taking a daily medication for the herpes can help prevent transmission, shorten outbreaks and manage symptoms.
Are at-home herpes tests private?
Yes. All of the tests are private and confidential.
Your results will not be reported to your insurance company and will not be placed on your permanent medical records.
The package you receive will only have the shipping label, and no test name or visuals to indicate what it is for. These online platforms are compliant with the law.
What should I do if my test results are positive?
Independent physicians or nurses can reach out to people with positive test results. They will discuss your results with you and suggest a plan of action.
If your results are positive, it is important to let your sexual partners know so they can also be tested.
When should I talk with a doctor?
If you have a primary care doctor who you visit frequently, you can give them your results to help you with your next steps.
If you don’t have a primary care doctor, you can consult with a physician or nurse from the testing site about treatment options.
If you are still having pain after taking your medication, you should reach out to a healthcare professional.
Will I have to pay for the test out of pocket?
You have to check with your insurance company to see if at- home tests are covered.
Insurance usually covers them, but sites like Everlywell recommend that you verify the purchase with your insurance.
Some networks may reimburse you for your purchase.
“Most at- home testing sites aren’t currently partnering with insurance companies, so you have to reach out yourself.”
If you don’t have insurance, you’ll likely have to pay for the test out of pocket. Some sites like Priority STD don’t accept insurance, so it’s a flat rate of $99 regardless of your coverage.
Can you be exposed to herpes and not get it?
Yes. Research suggests that in couples where only one partner has genital herpes, the other partner contracted genital herpes within 1 year in
You can prevent transmission by other means.
- Taking daily medication for the disease.
- During an outbreak, avoiding kissing, oral, vaginal, and anal intercourse.
- During outbreak-free periods, a barrier method is used.
There is no current cure for the disease, but treatment can prevent or shorten the outbreak.
It is possible to prevent oral herpes from spreading to the genital area by getting tested. It can protect other people who are involved with you sexually from contracting the virus.
You can do everything from the comfort of your home with at- home herpes tests.
Bonnie Azoulay Elmann is a freelance writer with six years of experience. She’s written for Glamour, Marie Claire, Health, and more publications. You can find her work here.