Why Everyone Needs A Blood Test For Herpes

I have herpes, don’t you?

You don’t?

Are you sure?

I wouldn’t be so sure if I were you.

Unless you have had a recent type-specific blood test to test for the presence of herpes simplex antibodies you cannot say with any certainty that you don’t have herpes.

You think that only 20% of the population has herpes?

Think again.

You may have heard that one out of every five people has herpes, but that number is untrue and a distortion of the facts. The truth is that at least 60% of the adult population has herpes.

Some people for reasons known only to them decided to exclude people who get herpes above the waist- people who get so-called “cold sores” on their mouths and faces, from the herpes statistics commonly reported in the media, then reporting only the percentage of people who get herpes below the waist- so-called genital herpes. This makes no sense at all since the scientific literature doesn’t classify herpes simplex 1 (cold sores) as a different disease as herpes simplex 2 (genital herpes)- but rather as two different types of the same disease which are almost identical genetically, and since many of the new cases of herpes of the genital area are actually caused by people getting herpes simplex 1 on their genitals from oral sex. There really is no such thing as ” cold sores” it is simplex herpes simplex 1 of the mouth or face. And those who have it need not be in denial pretending that it’s anything other than herpes simplex. The truth is that you can get herpes simplex 1 on almost any part of your body including your nose, your elbows, your fingers, your stomach, your genitals, your anus, etc. The truth is that herpes simplex is herpes simplex and it is only misleading to not include the people with herpes simplex 1 in herpes statistics.

Somewhere between 20 and 25% of the population get their herpes sores below the waist and somewhere between 50 and 80% of the population gets their herpes sores above the waist. If you factor in the number of people who have both herpes 1 and 2 at the same time, you are left understanding that at least 60% of the population has herpes simplex. Which rings true when you consider that 70% of the adult population has HPV (genital warts or cervical dysplasia) and that 80% of the adult population has had chlamydia at least once.

This is the reality of our times. There is almost no adult who has had more than six sex partners who hasn’t caught a sexually transmitted infection. Including yourself. Including myself.

You say you’ve been tested before for sexually transmitted diseases and are clean?

I wouldn’t be so sure. Herpes and HPV are almost never included in routine testing for sexually transmitted infections. Some doctors have the attitude of “Almost everyone tests positive for herpes so why bother testing”. Unless you have specifically asked for a type-specific blood test for herpes such as the Western Blot test you have probably never had an accurate herpes test. Swabbing for the presence of herpes can and often does render false negative tests. I know that from personal experience. The doctors told me twice that I didn’t have herpes before accurately testing me positive for herpes although I had already had a very obvious primary outbreak.

I strongly encourage you to get a type-specific blood test for herpes if you believe that you don’t have herpes or are unsure of your herpes status. If you test negative for herpes it will allow you to make some decisions regarding safer sexuality to help keep you herpes free for the rest of your sexual history. If you test positive for herpes it will allow you to decide to treat your herpes and make safer sex choices to help you to not infect others and make this epidemic worse. Not only is it the ethical thing to do it is also the sane thing to do since herpes makes you more vulnerable to HIV and HPV and may have some possible links to certain types of cancer and alzheimers. If you don’t know you won’t get treatment. Knowledge is empowering. Denial is irresponsible.

You say you are sure you don’t have herpes because you haven’t had an outbreak?

Most people with herpes, maybe up to 70% don’t get noticeable outbreaks. You may be having sub-clinical (subtle) outbreaks or may be shedding virus asymptomatically (without symptoms). You could be infecting others with herpes without knowing it.

Don’t be afraid of getting a herpes test. Herpes can be effectively treated by a combination of diet, stress reduction and herbal medicine or by drug therapy. There is no cure but it possible to go years between outbreaks.

I still believe that most people when given a choice prefer to the do the right thing. Getting tested for herpes is the right thing.

A great resource for learning about herpes is the international herpes resource center http://www.herpesresourcecenter.com

Christopher Scipio

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