Herpes is one of the most common STDs in the United States. More than half of the American population has oral herpes and around one in six Americans has genital herpes. So, chances are you know quite a few people infected with this disease.
Since herpes cannot be cured, it is essential to perform adequate testing after every potential exposure. Herpes is an unpredictable disease and should be taken very seriously. This is why we comprised this comprehensive guide to the best herpes tests of 2018, providing you with the most relevant information about the best testing options currently on the market.
- FDA-approved testing solutions and numerous security measures
- CLIA-certified testing laboratories and fast turnaround times
- Simple STD testing procedures with numerous payment options
- Direct access testing without appointments and waiting rooms
- Work-friendly hours and convenient/fast testing procedures
- The company accepts doctor's orders or provides its own
- Numerous testing solutions and an experienced & professional team
- CLIA-certified facilities and simple/discreet testing methods
- Numerous payment methods accepted, including your insurance
- More than 300 different testing solutions at 2,300+ locations
- Doctor's consultations with in-house therapy/prescriptions
- Generous STD testing portfolio and budget-friendly prices
- Simple, painless, and convenient testing in your own home
- Free shipping, doctor's consultations, and prescriptions
- FDA-approved tests performed in CLIA-certified laboratories
- Very simple testing procedures at more than 4,000 locations
- BBB accreditation and partnership with Quest Diagnostics
- 2,000 testing locations spread across 31 states in the US
- Highly experienced physicians and a professional care team
- Wide range of testing solutions and budget-friendly pricing
- Convenient sample collection without making any appointments
- Reliable testing results and a user-friendly refund policy
- Expertly curated tests and convenient testing procedures
- CLIA-certified testing facility and accurate test results
- Budget-friendly pricing policy/FSA and HAS accepted as well
- Multitude of different STD tests with convenient bundles
- At-home sample collection with FDA-approved testing kits
- Discreet packaging/ confidential results/a 30-day guarantee
Ranking Criteria Explained
Our ranking system is built upon a set of strict and objective criteria that allow us to successfully identify the best herpes tests on the market. In order to provide insight into the crucial factors that we focus on, we have created this quick overview of the most important ranking criteria that guide our selection process.
As expected, the key criteria include test diversity, quality, and accuracy. Of equal importance are staff competency, lab certifications, company reputation, and approval issued by the FDA. All of these criteria are used to determine the trustworthiness of the providers and the reliability of the tests offered.
Only the testing solutions that satisfy all of the abovementioned criteria receive our recommendation and a spot on our list of the best herpes tests available.
STDCheck is currently our top-ranked provider of high-quality online STD testing. The company has been running for 7 years now and has an A+ rating with the BBB, as well as a significant following and nationwide renown.
When it comes to herpes screening, STDCheck offers five different testing options. The HSV-1 test uses the type-specific ELISA method (Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay) and detects specific antibodies created by your immune system to fight off herpes-1. The price of the test is 65.00$. The HSV-2 test, on the other hand, is designed to detect the antibodies specific to this pathogen and its price is also 65.00$. You can do both tests simultaneously for 130.00$. Both tests are FDA-approved, require no undressing or swabbing, and have a 97% sensitivity rate and 98% specificity rate. You can also purchase the tests as a part of STDCheck’s 10 Test Panel (198.00$) and 10 Test Panel with HIV RNA Early Detection (349.00$).
The sample collection (small blood sample) is done in 5 minutes and the results are ready within 1-2 business days.
Any Lab Test Now Review
Any Lab Test Now is a reputable lab testing provider that opted to base its operation on the franchising model rather than building a corporate chain of stores. Nevertheless, the company offers top-quality STD testing in more than 160 independently owned and operated stores across the US.
Any Lab Test Now offers two options to customers who suspect recent exposure to herpes. The dedicated screening option tests for herpes simplex virus 1 & 2, but also checks for IgG antibodies in the patient’s blood. The price of the test is 49.00$. The other option is the company’s Comprehensive STD Panel, which also includes HIV, syphilis, hep B & C, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. The panel uses blood and urine samples and costs 229.00$.
The results for both screens are usually available within 1-2 business days.
STD Test Express Review
STD Test Express is a reputable STD testing provider from Chicago with a BBB certification. It is focused on providing fast, simple, and budget-friendly STD screening in an online setting.
As far as herpes is concerned, STD Test Express offers four different testing solutions. You can primarily opt for its individual blood test, which covers both HSV-1 & 2 and costs only 30.04$. This is an unbeatable price in our humble opinion. You can also screen for herpes with one of the available panels. General screening (141.10$) is recommended for low-risk patients who just want to stay on top of their sexual health. The most common doctor-recommended panel (197.74$) covers 7 potential infections and it can also be paired with HIV Early Detection for a total price of 268.94$.
The results are generated within 3 business days but can take up to 5 for more complex testing.
Personalabs is one of the largest online testing laboratories in the US and it definitely offers the widest range of different herpes screening solutions on this list. The company collaborates with LabCorp, which means it operates more than 2,300 testing locations nationwide.
When it comes to specific tests, Personalabs offers its Comprehensive STD Blood Test (6 STDs – 471.00$), 11 Panel STD Blood Test (463.00$), Herpes Simplex Virus 1 & 2 IgG Blood Test (78.00$), Genital Herpes IgG Blood Test (63.00$), Herpes Simplex Virus Types 1 & 2 DNA PCR Blood Test (205.00$), Herpes Simplex Virus 1 & 2 IgM Blood Test (108.00$), Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1-specific Antibodies, IgG Blood Test (63.00$), Herpesvirus 6 Antibodies (IgG, IgM) Blood Test (158.00$), and Human Herpes Virus Type 6 Blood Test (161.00$). We will explain the HHV type 6 in the conclusion of this guide.
The results are usually ready within 2-3 work days (7-10 days for more complex screenings).
MyLAB Box Review
MyLAB Box is an STD testing provider from Los Angeles that allows its users to perform high-quality STD screenings from the comfort of their own homes. The company currently ships its FDA-approved testing kits to all 50 states in the US.
With MyLAB Box, you can opt for the Genital Herpes Home Test (79.00$); Uber Box – 8 Panel Home STD Test (269.00$), which also includes HIV 1 & 2, syphilis, hep C, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis; Love Box (499.00$), which is basically the Uber Box for couples; Total Box – 14 Panel STD Test Pack (369.00 – 399.00$), which also includes mycoplasma genitalium, genital, throat, and rectal examination for chlamydia and gonorrhea, as well as HPV as an optional add-on for women older than 30 years (+30.00$ to the original price).
The results for all tests usually arrive within 2-5 business days.
STD Testing 24/7 Review
STD Testing 24/7 is a testing provider worthy of its name since it never closes its doors and is always ready to provide its users with high-quality screening, useful information, and doctor’s consultations and actionable advice. On top of that, the company operates more than 4,000 testing locations scattered all over the US.
As far as herpes screening goes, you can order its dedicated Herpes 1 & 2 Test for 129.95$ or you can perform it as a part of the company’s 8 Test Panel for 199.95$. The panel also includes gonorrhea, chlamydia, hep B & C, syphilis, and HIV Antibody Test. If you decide to add the HIV Early Detection test to the panel, the price will increase to 299.95$.
The final report is generated within 3 business days or less.
PlushCare is a relatively young company (founded in 2014) dedicated to internal medicine and urgent care. It complements its service with online doctor’s visits and telemedicine. It’s well-known for its top-tier service and affordable price tags.
As far as herpes screening goes, the company offers an individual test that covers both HSV-1 and HSV-2 for 80.00$. If you suspect exposure to multiple STDs, you can always order the entire screening portfolio (8 different STD tests) for just 199.00$ and save a lot of money in the process.
The results are usually generated within 3 business days or less and delivered directly to your provided email address. If you test positive, the company will connect you to one of its physicians who can tell you more about your situation and prescribe adequate treatment.
Walk-In Lab Review
Walk-In Lab is a partnership with a BBB accreditation founded in 2009 and focused on providing its users with a unique testing portfolio. The company usually offers its testing solutions well below retail prices, which is its main sales pitch, alongside high-quality services and numerous interesting features.
When it comes to herpes testing, Walk-In Lab offers its STD #1 Baseline Blood Test Panel (139.00$), which also includes hep C and HIV 1 & 2. You can also order its STD #2 Essential Bloodline Blood & Urine Test Panel (199.00$), which incorporates 9 different tests, including the chlamydia/gonococcus NAA, RPR qualitative, rapid, hepatitis A IgM antibody blood test, hepatitis B surface antigen, HIV 1 & 2 test, HSV 1 & 2 IgG, and hepatitis C antibody test.
The results are ready within 3-5 business days.
EverlyWell is a private at-home testing provider featuring a wide variety of different screening solutions designed to give you full control over your health and wellness. The company specializes in preventive medicine, health & wellness, and digital health.
As far as herpes testing is concerned, EverlyWell offers two comprehensive panels designed for males and females. Both panels have a price tag of 199.00$ and include screening for gonorrhea, chlamydia, hep C, syphilis, HIV, trichomoniasis, and, of course, HSV-2. The company doesn’t test for herpes type 1. The only difference between the two options lies in the biological testing samples required for the procedure. The male panel requires a blood spot and urine sample whereas the female panel requires a blood spot and vaginal swab.
The results will be available on your personal EverlyWell account within 5 business days.
Private iDNA Review
Private iDNA is a reputable provider of at-home STD tests known for its constant improvements and efforts put into providing its users with the best STD testing possible. It’s also famous for its budget-friendly prices and convenient testing bundles that allow you to save even more money.
Private iDNA’s dedicated HSV-2 testing kit (69.00$) is FDA-approved, very easy to use, and arrives at your home address in a completely discreet packaging without any indications of its content. The kit is designed to collect your blood sample and the test results are 99.99% accurate.
Apart from the individual test, you can also order one of the available bundles. The Standard test kit (169.00$) tests for gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, trichomoniasis, herpes 2, and HIV 1 & 2. The Premium test kit (369.00$) ads hep C, mycoplasma, and ureaplasma. With added testing for hep C and HPV, the Standard bundle costs 269.00$. You can also purchase the company’s HPV add-on with your Premium bundle, which then costs 399.00$.
The results are usually generated within 2-7 business days, depending on the complexity of the test in question.
People usually get confused by the terms oral and genital herpes. It is true that HSV-1 most commonly causes oral and HSV-2 genital herpes, but this is not a rule set in stone. Both types of viruses can infect either area, so oral and genital herpes is the nomenclature used to describe the location of the infection, not the virus causing it. For example, if you give oral sex to an individual with HSV-2 on their genitals, you’ll most likely get HSV-2 in your mouth and it’ll still be called oral herpes based on the location of the infection.
With that out of the way, we’ll also talk a bit more about all the herpesvirus types known to infect humans. We all know about HSV-1 and HSV-2, but there are also 7 other herpesvirus types that can use humans as their hosts. Note that the antiviral drugs we possess are only effective against some types of herpesvirus, hence we cannot cure them all. Apart from the mentioned types, we also have varicella-zoster virus (also known as HHV-3, OCTV or VZV), Epstein-bar virus (HHV-4 or EPB), human cytomegalovirus (HHV-5 or HCMV), human herpesvirus 6A and 6B (HHV-6A and HHV-6B), human herpesvirus 7 (HHV-7), and Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (HHV-8 or KSHV). There are over 130 herpesviruses currently known to science. This is the explanation we promised during our talk about screening solutions offered by Personalabs.
Herpes is very easily transmitted from one person to another and all it takes is some skin-to-skin touching, especially if the sores are still open and wet. The blister fluid contains the virus and can easily spread it around. Keep in mind that the virus can also “shed” and get transmitted even if your skin looks completely normal without any sores. In fact, most individuals contract herpes from someone who didn’t have any sores. Herpes is a very sinister disease that can live in our bodies for years without causing a single symptom.
In light of what we just mentioned, we can deduce that herpes can be transmitted through unprotected vaginal/oral/anal sex, any kind of genital contact with an infected individual, and by sharing sex toys. It can easily be transmitted in non-sexual ways as well. For example, a mother with a cold sore giving her child a peck on the lips. In fact, many individuals with oral herpes got infected when they were just kids. Also, genital herpes can pass on from the mother to her child during vaginal childbirth.
Many infected individuals might never exhibit any symptoms, but when they do, they’ll experience ulceration and blisters on external genitalia, on the cervix or in the vagina, itching and pain, vaginal discharge, enlarged and tender lymph nodes, fever, pain when urinating, malaise, red blisters on the skin, and cold sores around the mouth. These are all primary infection symptoms, which means infected individuals will experience them during the first outbreak of the disease. Symptoms of a recurrent infection can include tingling and burning around the genitals, cold sores around the mouth, ulceration and blisters on the cervix, and red blistering.
Complications caused by herpes simplex virus are quite rare, though, since it rarely spreads from the place of the original infection. However, in extreme cases, it can cause meningitis, encephalitis, and inflammation of the lower spinal cord and nerves in its immediate vicinity. If your immune system is impaired for whatever reason, herpes can spread to your lungs, liver, and joints and cause numerous problems in those areas.
We hope we managed to convey the importance of regular screening for herpes with this ultimate guide and familiarize you with the current state of the market. This guide is frequently updated so you can always come back and check the best herpes tests of 2018. Stay healthy and test regularly.