Synonyms: Herpes Virus Hominis Types I and II IgM; HSV Type 1 and Type 2, IgM

IGM = recent infection


Why It Is Done

Tests for HSV are usually done only for sores in the genital area. In rare cases, the test may be done using other types of samples, such as spinal fluid, blood, urine, or tears.Herpes testing is done to detect the presence of the herpes simplex virus (HSV). An HSV infection can cause small, painful blisterlike sores of the skin or the tissue lining (mucous membranes) of the throat, nose, mouth, urethra, rectum, and vagina. A herpes infection may cause only a single outbreak of sores, but in many cases the person will have recurrent outbreaks

Test Overview

There are two types of HSV:* HSV type 1 usually causes cold sores (also called fever blisters) on the lips. HSV-1 is generally spread by kissing or by sharing eating utensils (such as spoons or forks) when sores are present. HSV-1 can also cause sores around the genitals. * HSV type 2 usually causes sores in the genital area (genital herpes), such as on or around the vagina or penis. HSV-2 also causes the type of herpes infection seen in babies born to women who have genital herpes. HSV-2 is generally spread by sexual contact.

IgM. IgM antibodies are the largest type of antibody. They are found in blood and lymph fluid and are the first type of antibody produced in response to an infection. They also cause other immune system cells to produce compounds that can destroy invading cells. IgM antibodies normally comprise about 5% to 10% of all the antibodies in the body.

How To Prepare

If you may have genital herpes, avoid sexual contact until your test results come back. Although genital herpes cannot be cured, you can reduce the risk of spreading the disease.