After seven years of doing our western blot study, Quest laboratories will no longer transport our western blot samples for us. If you live in a city or can travel to a city that has an AnyLabTestNow, we can use them to draw your blood, spin and ship it. They have been very helpful. There is a minimal charge for that. You will need a health care provider to order the test for you, you cannot order it yourself. You can use your regular clinician or I can be the clinician ordering the test.
I am happy to help you obtain a herpes western blot. People generally want to do this to get the most accurate herpes antibody testing available. Often, they wish to confirm or deny a low positive result. We know that about 50% of people who test positive in the range of 1.1 to 3.5 don’t actually have herpes and this test will help sort that out. It is a Center for Disease Control recommendation that everyone with an IgG results in this low positive range obtain a western blot. Or perhaps someone has had a negative result on the screening test and because that test misses some infections, they want the best test available to be more certain about their negative status. Or maybe someone has had a higher positive result but has never had symptoms and they want to be certain the test result is correct. All of these are reasons to obtain a herpes western blot. It is considered the gold standard of herpes testing. But it is not easily available.
If you want to pursue this, here are the steps to obtaining the test. Our physical clinic is now officially closed so there is no one to talk to on the phone about this to set it up initially. You just have to follow the pretty clear steps listed below.
- Go to the video consult tab on our website and set up an appointment to go through the study participation process with me, via evisit. You will be given three options for a time to talk to me. If none of the ones offered is good for you, you will have a chance to select others. This conversation is not optional – we need to do this together as part of the study protocol. The evisit site will then ask you some basic questions about your health history and it will also request your credit card information. This must be given to be part of the study to pay for the western blot.
- At the time and date you have chosen, you will go back into the evisit website and enter the “waiting room”. I will come into the site and we will talk, face to face. for no longer than 20 minutes. If you for some reason cannot do the video format, we can do this via a phone call but video is my preferred method to do this. It is essential that you come into the site at the chosen time as there are often appointments booked back to back and everyone deserves to start as on time as possible. Please have with you the results of your previous IgG testing – I need the specific numbers you received as well as the name of the laboratory that did the original testing, if possible. I will also need the dates of your most recent sexual contacts and if you know the herpes testing status of your partners, that will be even better. I will also ask you about any symptoms that you might have had. If you do not show up at the time you chose for your appointment, you will still be charged for the visit time that you have reserved unless you cancel the appointment.
- In about three weeks, with your specific permission, I will send you an email with the results of your western blot. The possible results are positive, negative or indeterminate. There are no numbers associated with western blot results. Sometimes (about 10% of the time) the test cannot sort out your result, thus an indeterminate. But we know how to resolve that, based on the timing of your most recent sexual exposures and the timing of the testing. It may require another test to be done later.
- If you have questions once you receive your results, you will have an opportunity to ask me some brief questions via email.
We hope you will participate in our study both for your own information and for information about the accuracy of these tests to help others in the future.