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Your healthcare provider can diagnose typical genital herpes by looking at the sores. Some cases, however, are more difficult to diagnose.
The virus sometimes, but not always, can be detected by a laboratory test called a culture. A culture is done when your healthcare provider uses a swab to get and study material from a suspected herpes sore. You may still have genital herpes, however, even if your culture is negative (which means it does not show herpes simplex virus [HSV]).
A blood test, known as the type specific test, can tell whether you are infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2. The results of the type specific test plus the location of the sores will help your healthcare provider to find out whether you have genital infection.
A diagnosis of genital herpes can have substantial emotional effects on you and your sexual partner, whether or not you have symptoms. Proper counseling and treatment can help you and your partner learn to cope with the disease, recurrent episodes, personal relationships, and fertility issues.
Last Updated January 26, 2011