During a herpes biopsy, a needle is inserted into a vein and blood is collected in an air-tight vial or a syringe. The sample is taken to the laboratory and evaluated for the presence and quantity of antibodies. This test is done to detect if a person has been infected with the herpes simplex virus (I or II). This test does not detect the virus itself. If antibodies to the virus are present, the person has been infected with herpes simplex at some point in his or her life. If the infection is very recent, a few weeks to a month, antibodies may not be detected, but a person may still be infected.
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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