Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are spread through sexual contact, including vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex.  One of the most common sexually transmitted infections is genital herpes, which is usually caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), or less commonly type 1 (HSV-1). Results of a nationally representative study in the United States showed that 1 of out 6 people (16.2%) between 14 and 49 years of age had antibodies to HSV-2 (suggesting genital herpes infection), with this number remaining consistent over a decade’s time1. HSV-2 infection is more common in women (20%) than in men (11%)2. Transmission from an infected male to their female partners is more likely than from an infected female to their male partners.

Physical Diagnosis

While genital HSV infection is fairly common, the reality is that the vast majority of people who have been infected with HSV-2 are unaware that they are infected. Yet, they still shed virus intermittently and thereby put others at risk. For example, pregnant women who have genital herpes may transmit the infection to their newborn baby during labor and delivery.

Physical examination of patients with possible HSV infections is often negative and symptoms of genital herpes are often mistaken for other condition, such as ingrown hairs, jock itch, zipper burn, yeast infections, vaginitis, or urinary tract infections. 

These non-specific signs and symptoms may include:

  • Tingling
  • Itching or burning sensation
  • Flu-like symptoms, including swollen glands, headache, muscle ache or fever
  • Pain in the thighs, buttocks or genital area
  • Painful or difficult urination
  • Vaginal discharge


Serology cannot distinguish genital from oral infections. When appropriate, culture or PCR  is recommended to identify the infection site. However, HSV cultures and PCR are positive only when there are active lesions or shedding.

We are committed to providing your laboratory with the products needed to meet your testing demands for HSV-1 and HSV-2. HerpeSelect® type specific serology tests provide physicians with the information they need to confidently diagnose and counsel their patients on treatment and lifestyle decisions.

Product Highlight

young romantic couple
HerpeSelect® 1 and 2 Immunoblot IgG

For the qualitative detection and differentiation of type-specific IgG antibodies to HSV-1 and HSV-2 in human serum.

young romantic couple holding hands
HerpeSelect® 1 ELISA IgG Herpes Simplex Virus-1 (HSV-1) ELISA IgG

For qualitative detection of type-specific IgG antibodies to HSV-1 in human serum using purified recombinant HSV-1 glycoprotein-G antigen (gG1).

young romantic couple
HerpeSelect® 2 ELISA IgG Herpes Simplex Virus-2 (HSV-2) ELISA IgG

For the qualitative detection and differentiation of type-specific IgG antibodies to HSV-1 and HSV-2 in human serum.


1. Xu F, et all. JAMA. 2006:296:964-973
2. http://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/STDFact-Herpes.htm