Genital Herpes - Two New Accurate and Inexpensive FDA Approved Tests

By Ian R Kelly

If you suspect that you have genital herpes, accurate testing is of the utmost importance.

Inaccurate diagnosis either way can have far reaching consequences.

On the one hand, countless people have lived for years under the false impression that they had contracted genital herpes, because they were diagnosed on their symptoms alone. These people underwent broken romances, psychological trauma, shame and the expense of needless medication... all for nothing.

By the same token, many infected people were given the all clear, only to cause havoc by spreading the virus among their future sexual partner/s. In addition, HSV-2 positive pregnant women ran the risk of infecting their unborn baby.

Some Reasons For Misdiagnosis

In most cases, the physician is not at fault when it comes to misdiagnosis. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this can be blamed on a number of factors:

  1. An overwhelming number of patients are too ashamed to admit having sex with an unfamiliar partner.
  2. They did not connect their symptoms to their recent sexual activity.
  3. Many women are unwilling to consult a male doctor.
  4. Patients do not want their herpes status appearing on their medical records and following them around for the rest of their lives.
  5. Because of the above, lack of direction often leads physicians down the wrong diagnostic path.
  6. False negative or false positive test results
  7. Without accurate tests, genital herpes is notoriously difficult to diagnose. This is because the symptoms are similar to those of many different ailments, from Anaphylaxis to Vaginitis.

Appalling Results From The 2010 National STD Prevention Conference

On March the 10th, 2010, The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released the latest herpes statistics based on the 2005 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The survey involved households from across the country.

The shocking truth is that one out of every six Americans are now infected with genital herpes.

In fact, 19 million new STD infections occur every year in the United States, almost half of them among young people. To ad to the problem the majority do not know they are infected, and this greatly increases the risks of passing the virus on to others.

A New Generation of Herpes Blood Tests

In an attempt to control the spread of herpes, a few months ago the CDC issued new guidelines recommending the sole use of type-specific serologic tests for HSV-2.

Until recently, commercially available tests were unreliable at distinguishing HSV-1 (oral herpes) from HSV-2 - with one exception - the expensive and time-consuming University of Washington's "Western Blot" serologic assay for HSV-2.

Since up to 90% of the population are infected with HSV-1 and 80% of those are asymptomatic (never had an outbreak), the recently available tests were simply a waste of time and money.

2 new type-specific tests are now commercially available, both of which are CDC approved and recommended.

They are:

  1. HerpeSelect® HSV-1 and HSV-2 ELISA manufactured and distributed by Focus Technologies (Cypress, CA). This test is readily available and it has been approved by the FDA for the highly accurate serologic assay for HSV-2 in adults and pregnant women. The test takes less than a day after the specimen arrives in the reference laboratory, and it only costs about $25 per test.
  2. Biokit HSV-2 formerly known as "POCkit™HSV-2". This test kit is manufactured and distributed by Biokit USA as biokit-HSV-2 and by Fisher Scientific under the brand name "SureVue." The test can be carried out in offices and clinics with access to laboratory facilities. A simple finger stick is used to draw blood and the results are available in about 10 minutes. The cost? About $20!

The above prices are about a tenth of the cost of the Western Blot serologic assay. Whereas the Western Blot is the Gold Standard herpes blood test, both the HerpesSelect and the Biokit tests are almost as accurate.

However, on rare occasions, all three tests can produce false negative results. In order to guard against this possibility, two tests should be carried out a couple of months apart, starting with the Biokit HSV-2 test and then the HerpesSelect as the follow-up control test.

The Importance of Knowing Your HSV Status.

Although the CDC does not advocate nation-wide testing, they strongly recommend periodic tests for certain high-risk individuals, such as:

  • Black people with multiple sex partners. The CDC reports that 39.2 percent are infected; a rate more than three times that of whites. Black women had the highest prevalence of HSV-2, at 48 percent.
  • HIV positive individuals because they carry a higher risk of HSV-2 infection than non-immunocompromised people.
  • Gay or bisexual men.
  • Pregnant women. This is, a) Because women are five times more likely to be infected than men and a high percentage are asymptomatic, and b) There is a real chance of inflicting their baby with dangerous and often fatal neonatal disease.

Ian R Kelly draws his ideas both from research and from life's experiences.

The prime focus of his website, http://www.home-remedy-site.com/, is to pay it forward by showing people how to obtain drug-free relief for various debilitating illnesses.

For complimentary information related to this article, visit http://www.home-remedy-site.com/genital-herpes.html

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Ian_R_Kelly

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