eg. Can you get STD from giving your partner a BJ?

How long can the herpes virus stay “undetected” in the body. When can an STD test safely rule out the absense?

Asked by on January 24, 2014

How long can the herpes virus stay in your body without showing up on an std test. What is a safe time frame to wait until it would show on a std test?
Thank you, I was also wondering, as far as test results go, would it be possible that the herpes virus could lay dormant in your body for not only months, but possibly years before showing up on a test…., or even getting any symptoms until then? Thanks again.





February 28, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Most people with herpes have no symptoms at all. So if by "undetected" you mean "symptomless" then the answer is - forever.

I've put a link to a page about herpes testing on my fave herpes website. The relevant portions is "For the most accurate test result, it is recommended to wait 12 - 16 weeks from the last possible date of exposure before getting an accurate, type-specific blood test in order to allow enough time for antibodies to reach detectable levels."

There is some important info in there. For example, request a type-specific test. Most people (50% to 80% of adults) have HSV1, so expect it to be positive for that. It's HSV2 that you are probably worried about.

The second thing to know is that you can get either virus (HSV1 or HSV2) in either place (orally or genitally). So you could easily catch HSV1 genitally, not realize it, and assume that a positive HSV1 test means ORAL herpes, and be wrong.

Finally, know that most standard STD screenings don't include herpes. You'll need to ask for it specifically.

Hope this helps.

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