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Herpes Symptoms

how to test for herpes at home

Knowing herpes symptoms & how to test for herpes at home will provide you with a convenient way to take control of your own health. In order to do that, you first need to know more about the infection. There are two types of herpes: oral herpes, or Herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1), and genital herpes, usually known as Herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, genital herpes is the second most common STI, with an estimated one-out-of-six people between the ages 14 to 49 carrying the infection. Today we will discuss HSV-2, since myLAB Box offers convenient at-home testing for this form of herpes.

The HSV-2 infection most commonly appears on your body in the form or sores, lesions or blisters. In fact, this infection not only affects the genital area, but also the thighs, the buttocks and the area near the anus.

While symptoms may never appear at all, some common symptoms in women include:[1]

  • Discomfort similar to a yeast, bacterial or bladder infection
  • Sores in or around the vagina, vulva or urethra
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Pain while urinating
  • Headaches, body aches or flu-like symptoms

If lesions are present on the cervix, HSV can lead to cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix). It is also possible for pregnant women to pass herpes to an infant, which can be fatal.[2]

Some symptoms of herpes in men include:[1]

  • Sores on or around the penis
  • Pain while urinating
  • Swelling or discomfort in the groin nodes
  • Headaches, body aches or flu-like symptoms

    What are Herpes Symptoms?

    It is very common to have several outbreaks of genital herpes, especially in the first year of contracting the virus. This is one reason it is important to know how to test for herpes at home, in a clinic or at a doctor’s office. That said, testing in a clinic or doctor’s office is often time consuming, requires multiple visits or may be impractical for some people. Instead, knowing how to test for herpes at home can provide an easy and convenient way of maintaining a routine testing schedule.

    Luckily, the process of testing at home is simple. After you order your herpes home test online at, it will arrive in discreet packaging. You can take your test any time and anywhere. It only takes five minutes! Send the testing kit back in the pre-paid envelope and receive results online within days. These will be the same lab-certified results that you would get from any doctor or clinic.

    Home Testing Options

    Now that you know how to test for herpes at home, you can choose between several testing options. The simplest option tests for only genital herpes, the second most common STI.

    Different panels are also available for your consideration. A panel is a test kit that will check for multiple STIs from the same sample. For those who wish to test for herpes may consider any of the following myLAB Box testing panels:

    • Uber Box: this 8-panel test kit screens for HSV-2, but also HIV (I & II), Hepatitis C, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Trichomoniasis.
    • Love Box: this 8-panel test kit screens for the same infections that are included with the Uber Box, but includes a second test so that couples can test together.
    • Total Box: this comprehensive 14-panel test screens for HIV (I & II), Hepatitis C, HSV-2, Syphilis, Chlamydia (genital, throat, + rectal), Gonorrhea (genital, throat, + rectal), Trichomoniasis and Mycoplasma genitalium. Women who are 30 years of age and older can add the option to test for HPV as well.

    Although there is no cure for HSV, medications can manage symptoms and control future outbreaks. Even when no symptoms are showing, it is important to prevent these outbreaks and the spread of the infection to others.[3]

    Reviewed by Luis Ferdinand M. Papa, MD, MHA


    1. [1] Study found that first-time HSV-2 symptomatic patients often present with headaches, fever, difficult or painful urination, genital pain, discharge and genital lesions.

      Diamond, Catherine M.D., Selke, Stacy M.A., Ashley, Rhoda Ph.D., et al. Clinical Course of Patients With Serologic Evidence of Recurrent Genital Herpes Presenting With Signs and Symptoms of First Episode Disease. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 1999.

    2. [2] Study found that herpes developed in 33% of infants whose mothers were infected for the first time at term compared to 3% who had herpes before pregnancy. Of 10 infants who developed herpes at birth, 5 died or were disabled at the time the article was written.

      Zane A. Brown, M.D., Jacqueline Benedetti, Ph.D., Rhoda Ashley, Ph.D., et al. Neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus Infection in Relation to Asymptomatic Maternal Infection at the Time of Labor. New England Journal of Medicine. 1991.

    3. [3] Study found that asymptomatic carriers of genital herpes are shedding the virus in genital fluid 10.2% of the time in a given month. Symptomatic carriers shed at a rate of 20.1%.

      Tronstein E, Johnston C, Huang M, et al. Genital Shedding of Herpes Simplex Virus Among Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Persons With HSV-2 Infection. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2011.

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