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Feb 23, 2010 - 9 comments

Since reading a lot of post from Canadians confused about HSV testing in Canada and getting nowhere I decided to clear some things up.

Herpes (HSV 1 and 2) IgM and IgG blood testing IS available in Canada. Blood tests were aproved by Health Canada either in 2006 or 2007.

It is done by private or public labs.

Private lab doing testing is done by “Gamma-Dynacare”. Their lab uses the “Herpe Select” Immunoblot test for HSV. It does both Igm/IgG testing if required. This test is NOT covered by Public Health Plan - Cost is 140$  Lab is based in Montreal. The turn around time is 1-2 weeks.

The test by Immunoblot  HSV1 is 92%-100% accurate.
The test by Immunoblot HSV2 is 98%-100% accurate.

Public Health (in Ontario at least) does IgG HSV  ELISA/EIA testing. It is free but only if your referring doctor or the lab where the blood is drawn requests Public Health to do the actual testing. The test in NOT type specific ie. It will not differentiate between type 1 or 2, the public lab does not do type specific testing at all! If you want type specific (HSV 1 or 2 ) you must go through the private lab.  The turn around time is 1-2 weeks.

Public Health Toronto Lab does the blood testing.
Public Health Kingston does the lesion swab testing.

Toronto Virology lab # 1-416-235-5731.
Kingston lab # 1-613-548-6638

Gamma-Dynacare #  

Toll-free 1-800-265-5946
Local (519) 679-1630

Toll-free 1-800-267-9514
Local (613) 729-0200

Toll-free 1-800-565-5721
Local (905) 790-3030

All this information is 100% accurate. I contacted both Gamma-Dynacare and Public Health multiple times to make sure my information was correct. The private lab has a web page for HSV testing information:

Look for HERPES SIMPLEX IGM/IGG testing.

Note: Most doctors in Canada unfortunately are not aware that blood testing is available, they can refuse you if you ask or tell you that it is inaccurate or difficult to do. Some will only test IF you have actual active lesion present. DO not take NO for an answer. Search for a different doctor if possible. Walk in clinics are notorious for refusing to do blood testing and most city STD clinics do not do HSV testing. For info on any particular province and where testing is done please call the Gamma or Public Health numbers and they should be able to help you out.

Any further info, questions comments please PM me by all means.

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Avatar universal
by c84M, Feb 23, 2010
Nice post.  BTW, it would appear that the IMMUNOBLOT testing can only tell you 'positive' or 'negative', without giving out any scores.  Is that indeed so?  Is there a way to get the actual scores?  

I believe my test was sent back from Ontario to BC, and it took 3 to 4 weeks to get the result.  IIRC I got the impression from the lab nurse that there is only a single lab in Canada that does herpes testing.

Avatar universal
by OttMar, Feb 23, 2010
Montreal apparently does the separate IGG testing. That is for Gamma DynaCare. I am assuming other companies have labs somewhere else. But unless they are contacted most people are in the dark and doctors know even less.

Yeah the immunoblot only gives you a POS or NEG mark. BUT you can call the lab, get the doc to call, and get the actual score. Herpe Select informed me that there should be a score on that test but most labs just give you the -/+.
But the immunoblot is very accurate, WB even more, but thats not offered in canada for HSV, gotta love the Public System................

Avatar universal
by c84M, Mar 30, 2010
Are you sure that one can get some actual certainty of the diagnosis in the numerical value from Immunoblot?  Have you actually done so yourself?

My understanding is that Focus makes two tests: ELISA and Immunoblot, with the former having the varied numerical scale and the latter basically having just a few fixed results.  Have you ever been successful at getting the actual numbers at all from Immunoblot?

My health care centre was using the LifeLabs in BC (sample sent from Ontario), and I got a positive result for HSV1, negative for HSV2.  I'm 25 M, but I have only had two partners.  I know my mum has had cold sores, but she was always very careful around me when she had them, and I don't recall any history of the cold sores on myself, and she does not recall me having it either.  Unfortunately, I only got tested after a few weeks of being suspicious for having been infected from a relatively new female partner who is not willing to take any tests (I've been suspicious first for the intraoral and then for the genital infection;  we've had no unprotected sex, and no oral sex, but she is just 21, so I believe that a genital-to-genital HSV1 acquisition is not out of the question;  I've seen multiple doctors right away, and all of them concluded that I don't have anything unusual at all).  Now I'm kinda scared that the summer may bring me some unsightly blisters I've never had before (could the first real outbreak occur from exposure to the sunlight?), or I might as well never know when and at which site(s) have I been infected...

Avatar universal
by Natch0412, Sep 01, 2010
so I'm in the Halton region in Ontario (outside of Toronto) and my public health office said they DO NOT do blood tests for HSV.

I want to get type-specific results (i have cole sores but i need to know if i have type 2), so you are saying to do a blood test with my doctor and have it sent to Gamma-Dynacare?

Would that be my best route?

Avatar universal
by Fib40, Mar 30, 2011

So how exactly should I request this test? I just moved to Edmonton, don't have a family doctor, and the clinic I just came from told me he wouldn't do the blood test, and no one he knows would. Unless there's an active sore. He actually tried to send me back to the STD clinic I'd just been to, for the same urine and swab test I just had done.

Do I just keep trying doctors and clinics until someone agrees??

Avatar universal
by rocky206, Jun 04, 2011
ugh i have been to 12 diffferent docs for herpes i dont have a fam doc either so ive been going to the er and clinics im not sure what to do or where to go.  no one will give me an blood test.. maybe a biopsy would work. ive pretty much self diagnosed my self with herpes.

101028 tn?1419606604
by gracefromHHP, Jun 05, 2011
no a biopsy won't work for herpes. you can get a lesion culture done on active symptoms for herpes though.


Avatar universal
by The_Truth, Nov 09, 2011
This is so great honestly...So much people are dumfounded about this matter and think they are safe or "clean". It saddens me really. THANK YOU!

Avatar universal
by mpottee7, Nov 16, 2018
I'm 24 and I have taxed myself on being a good person - up until a year ago when I was diagnosed of genital warts. I told my boyfriend with the assumption that he had given them to me (although we have protected sex). He went to the doctor but he didn't have them I then realized that I must have contacted them from a past partner with whom I had unprotected sex with (it happened just two times) I went to the doctor to get full blood screening for everything including HIV I also had my annual pap. The tests came back clean after a spell of trouble at work and a deep depression with suicidal thought. I sought therapy and things became more expensive. Eight months after we worked it all out my boyfriend told me that he was falling out of love with me
Its been over nine months since we broke up and I don't know how to go on I have been on one date since then I just can't seem to get close to anyone because I'm too afraid that they would leave me once they found out about my situation. Living have been hell for me till early this year when I decided to give herbal a trial. I have been told and have seen many testimonies about African herbalist and how DR UTU have cured many people of many diseases.  I collected his contact ***@****. That's the man who changed my condition today to better. He sent me  herbal medicine from Africa which after 8days of use he told me to go for Lab test I waited a week before going for test and I was negative, Am clean again and ready to mingle. I think I learnt a lot from my past predicament. Life is a school and I believe every condition is a lesson to learn.

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