The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are given to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions.
At this time, there are no screening guidelines or test for genital herpes. A doctor may recommend screening if you are at high risk for sexually transmitted diseases, such as:
People who have had multiple sex partners should consider screening for STDs even if there is not a specific guideline.
Women who are pregnant and near labor will be asked about their history and be examined for any sores in the genital area. A test may also be done to find out if the virus is present. This is especially important at the time of labor to avoid spreading the virus to the baby.
2015 Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/default.htm. Updated March 9, 2016. Accessed June 6, 2016.
Beauman JG. Genital herpes: a review. Am Fam Physician. 2005;72(8):1527-1534.
Gardella C, Huang ML, Wald A, et al. Rapid polymerase chain reaction assay to detect herpes simplex virus in the genital tract of women in labor. Obstet Gynecol. 2010;115(6):1209-1216.
Genital herpes—CDC fact sheet (detailed). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes-detailed.htm. Updated November 17, 2015. Accessed June 6, 2016.
Last reviewed June 2016 by James Cornell, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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