Tests to Diagnose Herpes
New Type-Specific Blood Tests for Herpes Approved by FDA

The summer of 1999 brought several new testing options for people concerned about herpes simplex virus (HSV). In July, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved two tests from Meridian Diagnostics, one for HSV-1 and the other for HSV-2. In August, the FDA approved Diagnology's POCkitŪ HSV-2 Rapid Test.

Blood tests are often used when a person has concerns about herpes, but does not have any visible symptoms. In the past, type-specific blood tests were not always accurate because they confused other herpes virus antibodies such as varicella zoster (chicken pox) and Epstein Barr (mononucleosis or "mono") for herpes simplex (Types 1 and 2) antibodies.

These new tests are revolutionary in that they are extremely accurate and rarely confuse herpes simplex with other herpes viruses.

While both of these blood tests are type-specific tests, they are administered in two completely different ways. With Meridian's PremierŪ test, the health care provider takes a blood sample from the arm and the blood is sent to the lab for results. Results could take a few days depending on how fast the lab can do the test. The POC in Diagnology's POCkit stands for point of care, which means the test can be done in a doctor's office. Your doctor will stick your finger, drop the blood into the test kit and six minutes later read the results.

Like all blood tests, the POCkit test and the Premier test cannot determine whether the HSV infection is oral or genital. However, since most cases of genital herpes are caused by HSV-2, a positive Type 2 result most likely indicates a genital infection. For more information about the POCkit test, your healthcare provider can contact the test's manufacturer: Diagnology at (877) 776-2548.