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Screening for Genital Herpes
The purpose of screening is early diagnosis and treatment. Screening tests are given to people without current symptoms, but who may be at high risk for certain diseases or conditions.
At this time, there are no screening guidelines for the general population. A doctor may recommend screening if you are at high risk for sexually transmitted diseases such as:
- Multiple sex partners
- HIV infection
- Past history of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Men who have sex with men who are at high risk of HIV infection
Sexually active people should consider screening for STDs even if there is not a specific guideline.
Women who are pregnant and near labor will be asked about history and examined for any sores in the genital area. A test may also be done to find out if the virus is present. This is especially important at the time of labor to avoid spreading the virus to the baby.
Beauman JG. Genital herpes: A review. Am Fam Physician. 2005;72(8):1527-1534.
Gardella C, Huang ML, et al. Rapid polymerase chain reaction assay to detect herpes simplex virus in the genital tract of women in labor. Obstet Gynecol. 2010;115(6):1209-1216.
Genital herpes—CDC fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/stdfact-herpes-detailed.htm. Updated February 13, 2013. Accessed October 17, 2014.
Workowski KA, Berman S, et al. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2010. MMWR. 2010;59(No. RR-12):1-110.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2015
- Update Date: 05/20/2015