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Herpes 1&2 IgM Blood Test

Recent exposure HSV 1&2
Sample Report
Specimen Type: Blood


Herpes 1&2 IgM Blood Test

The Herpes 1&2 IgM test is typically ordered as a screening for recent exposure to the Herpes Simplex Virus.  This test looks for IgM antibodies which usually appear shortly after infection.  IgM antibodies typically begin to be detectable at 5-10 days after infection and phase out within a few months.   A second type of antibody known as IgG antibodies will begin to develop shortly after infection.  IgG antibodies are usually detectable at 4-12 weeks after exposure. 

Herpes is a viral infection spread by skin to skin contact, including during sexual activity.  Herpes type 1 is more common and most often associated with oral herpes.  Type 2 is less common and often associated with genital herpes.  However, both forms of the virus can be spread to either area depending on the type of contact which results in infection.  The most common symptom of Herpes infection is periodic outbreaks of sores around the infected area.  However, it is not unusual for Herpes to display no symptoms for years at a time.  The virus can be spread even if the infected person is not experiencing symptoms, which is known as asymptomatic shedding.  Chronic Herpes infections can cause damage to the nervous system and increase the likelihood of contracting other STD’s including HIV.

The Herpes 1&2 IgM test cannot distinguish between Herpes type 1 and type 2.  There is the possibility that the accuracy of this test may be affected by past exposure to other forms of the Herpes virus such as Chicken Pox, Shingles, or Mono.  However, the IgM Antibodies test is the only test capable of detecting a recent Herpes infection without symptoms.

Herpes is one of the most common STD’s and testing is recommended for anyone who is sexually active.  Pregnant women should seek Herpes testing to avoid passing the infection during birth.  People who are past the point where IGM testing will be effective may wish to order the Herpes 1&2 IgG Abs test.  Someone who is unsure which type of Herpes test is best for their situation can also order the Herpes Complete Package which contains the Herpes 1&2 IgM and IgG tests. 

Turnaround time for the Herpes 1&2 IgM test is typically 1-3 business days.

Note: Result turn around times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. Our reference lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.

Incubation Period:

Average incubation period for this Herpes test (HSV IgM test) ranges from about 5 days-5 weeks. After a few months from the initial infection, a person usually begins to "phase out" and is no longer detectable with this test.


This Herpes testing does not have any special requirements.

Herpes Overview



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