Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"How does HerpeSelect work?"

ZocdocAnswersHow does HerpeSelect work?


The doctor's office that I go to said that they can't yet diagnose what type of herpes I have because they don't have the right kind of test - but they said they're obtaining a HerpeSelect kit that will supposedly tell the difference. How is this possible? Isn't it just the same virus that moves around?


Herpes viruses are common causes of infections in many people. There are actually two common forms that cause infections, herpes type 1 and herpes type 2. These are slightly different viruses and they have different patterns of spread. Both viruses can be spread by saliva or sexual contact. Herpes type 1 is contracted classically in the saliva and is most commonly known for causing cold sores around the mouth but it can also cause genital sores. Herpes type 2 is contracted classically by sexual contact and causes primarily genital sores, but it can also cause cold sores. The HerpeSelect test works by taking a sample from the patient and testing it for antibodies that have formed to the herpes viruses. It can test for both antibodies to type 1 and type 2 herpes, and therefore it can tell you which type you have. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular concern will require a physical examination by your personal physician. If you still have questions setting up an office visit with your primary care doctor is recommended.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.