First Aid

Herpes Testing – London

Herpes is a common and infectious virus which is found in two forms: HSV (Herpes Simplex Virus) 1, and HSV 2.

Herpes Simplex Virus 1

The HSV 1 strain of Herpes causes cold sores which typically manifest themselves around the mouth. The HSV 1 strain can be contracted through casual skin to skin contact with an infected person with live sores, through genital contact or through oral sex.

Herpes Simplex Virus 2

The HSV 2 strain of Herpes (also known as Herpes Genitalis or Genital Herpes) causes sores to appear on and/or around the genitals. This strain of the Herpes virus can also be caught from casual skin to skin contact with an infected person with live sores, through genital contact, or through oral sex.

Many people carry the Herpes virus, be it strain 1 or 2. However, only 1 in 4 infected people display any symptoms, and only 2 in 4 display mild symptoms.

No cure

There are treatments for controlling a primary infection Herpes infection, but there is no cure. Once acquired, the Herpes virus lies dormant within the body. This may be after the primary infection (or not), when symptoms are usually at their worst, although symptoms may not appear for months or even years after the initial infection, if at all.

Even if you do not display symptoms of Genital Herpes, you can still infect others

With Genital Herpes, sores may sometimes appear inside the anus and/or vagina; however this normally only occurs during a primary infection, and seldom with repeat episodes.

How Herpes testing is carried out

The test for a Herpes infection can be carried out in one of the following ways, depending on the strain.

  • A blood test – this is a standard test which can be used whether or not you are displaying symptoms.
  • A urine test – this is carried out if you are currently displaying symptoms
  • A swab test – whereby a swab is taken from an existing blister or lesion. The swab is then analysed for the presence of the Herpes Simplex Virus.

The results of a Herpes test are usually available within a few days.

Where to get tested

If you suspect that you may have contracted Genital Herpes, you can be tested by your GP, or at a sexual health or GUM clinic. If you live and/or work in London, you can use the walk-in STD health clinic service operated by Broadgate GP Clinic London Wall.