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.
Update Date 7/28/2014
Updated by: Cynthia D. White, MD, Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Group Health Cooperative, Bellevue, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.