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Getting tested is the only way to know for sure if you have herpes. If you have sores or other symptoms of herpes, see a nurse or doctor.

Want to get tested for herpes? Find a Health Center →

Do I have herpes?

You can’t tell if you have herpes just by the way you look or feel. Like all STDs, the only way to know for sure if you have herpes is to get tested.

If you notice sores on or around your genitals, get checked out by a nurse or doctor as soon as you can. Other STDs, like syphilis, can look like herpes but need different treatment. So it’s important to find out exactly what’s going on.  Ask your nurse or doctor if you should be tested for herpes.

What happens during a herpes test?

If you have blisters or sores, your doctor or nurse will gently take a sample of fluid from the sores with a swab and test it.

If you don’t have any sores, talk with your doctor or nurse about whether a blood test for herpes makes sense for you. But herpes tests aren't normally recommended unless you do have symptoms.

The idea of getting tested may seem scary, but try to chill out. STD testing is a regular part of being a responsible adult and taking care of your health. And herpes tests are quick and usually painless.

Where can I get tested for herpes?

You can get tested for herpes and other STDs at your doctor’s office, a community health clinic, the health department, or your local Planned Parenthood health center.

STD testing isn’t usually part of your regular checkup or gynecologist exam — you have to ask for it. Be honest with your nurse or doctor so they can help you figure out which tests are best for you. Don’t be embarrassed: Your doctor is here to help you, not to judge you.

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