Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV 1&2) IgG/IgM

Clinical definition of the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) test
Herpes simplex virus or HSV (family Herpesviridae) is a contagious virus that infects humans. Herpes is caused by two strains of the herpes simplex virus, type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2). HSV-1 is more likely to affect the mouth and lips in the form of cold sores, whereas HSV-2 is more common and usually manifests itself in the genital and anal area. HSV is very contagious and is transmitted through contact with an infected person who produces it and sheds the virus. It can be spread by direct contact with sores and sometimes by contact with the oral and genital areas of people with chronic HSV infection, who are between episodes of sores.
Infection with the herpes virus is categorized by distinct disorders based on the site of infection such as infection of the face, throat, and mouth, hands, eye, the central nervous system, brain, buttocks or anal area and the genitals. Reactivation of a latent oral or genital HSV infection may be triggered by a fever, menstruation, emotional stress, or suppression of the immune system (for example, by a drug taken to prevent rejection of an organ transplant). An episode of the HSV infection can develop after physical trauma, such as a dental procedure or overexposure of the lips to sunlight. Often, the trigger is unknown. Once infected, the virus remains in the body for life.

Why is the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) test done?
This test is done when the patient has symptoms of an infection with the herpes simplex virus, such as blisters in the genital area, mucous membranes or the brain.

What are the common signs/symptoms when the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) test is done?
Symptoms of herpes usually appear 2 to 7 days after first exposure to the virus and last for 2 to 4 weeks. Symptoms include an eruption of small, painful, fluid-filled blisters or ulcers that appear on the skin or on the mucous membranes, such as those lining the eyes, vagina, cervix, lips, and gums or inside of the mouth. The skin around the blisters is often red. Other multiple symptoms for both men and women could be as follows:

  • Itching or tingling sensations in the genital or anal area
  • Small fluid-filled blisters that burst leaving small painful sores
  • Pain when passing urine over the open sores (especially in women)
  • Headaches
  • Backache
  • Flu-like symptoms, including swollen glands or fever
  • Mouth sores

Once the first outbreak of blisters has gone, the herpes virus hides away in nerve fibres near the infection site, where it remains dormant, causing no symptoms. Symptoms may come back later (particularly during times of stress and illness) but usually in less severe and shorter episodes.

Who should do the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) test (Target population)?
Patients showing the above signs & symptoms or those who are at a high risk of getting infected due to unsafe sexual contact with an infected person.

What should I do before the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) test?

Specimen type

Specimen collection procedure

Preparatory instructions before the test *

Serum (Blood Sample)

Venipuncture - Collection of blood from a vein, usually from the arm

No Fasting Required

No other special preparations required

*Subjects suffering from any illness or on oral or injectable medications are advised to consult their physician prior to requesting any tests or procedures.

How do I interpret my Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) test results?

Reference Range*




HSV 1 + HSV 2







< 0.8  Ratio

< 0.8 Ratio

< 0.8 Ratio

< 0.8 Ratio

< 0.8 Ratio

< 0.9 Ratio


> = 0.8 to < 1.1

>=  0.8 to < 1.1

> =0.8 to < 1.1 Ratio

> =0.8 to < 1.1 Ratio

> =0.8 to < 1.2 Ratio

> =0.9 to <1.1 Ratio


> = 1.1

>= 1.1

> = 1.1 Ratio

> = 1.1 Ratio

> =1.2

> =1.1 Ratio


Inference: HSV IgG antibodies refer to a past infection whereas IgM antibodies indicate an active or a current infection.
‘*A Reference range is a set of values which helps the healthcare professional to interpret a medical test. It may vary with age, gender, and other factors. Reference ranges may also vary between labs, in value & units depending on instruments used and method of establishment of reference ranges’

Diseases/conditions related to the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) test

  • Eczema herpetiform (widespread herpes across the skin)
  • Encephalitis
  • Infection of the eye - keratoconjunctivitis
  • Infection of the trachea
  • Meningitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Prolonged, severe infection in immunosuppressed individuals

Other tests related to the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) test

  • Torch
  • CSF analysis
  • Blood test for antibodies of HSV (serology)
  • Direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) test of cells taken from a lesion
  • Viral culture of the lesion

Synonyms : Genital herpes
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HSV(Herpes Simplex Virus) 1&2 IgM