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herpesDX test by DermaGenoma

Sep 10, 2010 - 0 comments

So what is this test?

- this is a blood test that looks for certain genetic markers that are thought to be present in people who when infected with hsv2, makes them more likely to have more frequent recurrences of their genital herpes compared to people who don't have these genetic markers.  The HerpesDX test reports on the presence or absence of specific mutations in the mannose-binding lectin (MBL) gene.

What is the accuracy of this test in predicting that I'd have frequent recurrences of herpes?

-60-80%

How much does this test cost on average?

- $249

Will my insurance cover this test?

- probably not but you'd have to call and ask.

What benefits would getting this test done have for me?

- well outside of research, not many to be honest.  We already know from studies that the number of recurrences of actual lesions is meaningless other than how uncomfortable you will be because of recurrences.  We know that we all shed about the same amount of virus in between obvious recurrences whether we have 0 ob's a year or 10 ob's a year.  using this test as a way to decide how to treat your herpes isn't really helpful for most people especially if you are in a discordant relationship ( one partner has hsv2 and the other doesn't ).

What does it mean to me if I do decide I want this test and it shows that I'm at high risk for frequent recurrences?

- it's totally up to you if you want to treat your herpes or not. You never, ever have to treat ob's if you don't want to. Treating recurrences with herpes antivirals helps them to heal faster so you are uncomfortable less often.  Taking daily suppressive therapy helps you to have less recurrences in general and also reduces viral shedding. Daily suppressive therapy with valtrex has been shown to reduce transmission to a partner by 1/2.  

If I take this test and it shows I'm not at risk for frequent recurrences, does that mean that my partner is less at risk of contracting my hsv2?

- no it does not.  We all shed the virus about the same amount whether you have frequent recurrences or not.  The average number of recurrences is 4-6/year. This test looks for signs that you'd be likely to have 6 or more ob's a year.  This test has nothing to do with predicting the rate of shedding in a person and we know shedding is pretty comparable on average whether you have 0 ob's a year or up to 10 ob's a year.  

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