3 doctors weighed in:

Is it possible to get a false positive herpes culture test? How often does it occur? What is the reasoning for it?

3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Internal Medicine - Infectious Disease
2 doctors agree

In brief: Rarely if ever

False positive results are very unlikely for HSV culture.
If the test was actually a DNA test (PCR test), there is a slightly higher chance of false pos, but still very unlikely. If you have had a positive culture or PCR, for sure you have herpes at whatever site was tested (genital, oral). But if a blood antibody test, not culture or PCR, false positive results are quite common. Good luck.

In brief: Rarely if ever

False positive results are very unlikely for HSV culture.
If the test was actually a DNA test (PCR test), there is a slightly higher chance of false pos, but still very unlikely. If you have had a positive culture or PCR, for sure you have herpes at whatever site was tested (genital, oral). But if a blood antibody test, not culture or PCR, false positive results are quite common. Good luck.
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Thank
1 comment
Dr. Hunter Handsfield
Make sure the positive culture (or PCR) is tested to determine whether you have HSV1 or HSV2. For genital herpes, it makes a big difference in likelihood of recurrent outbreaks, risk to sex partners, and need for ongoing treatment. Some labs and doctors cut corners on this; don't let them.
Get help from a real doctor now
Dr. Christopher Crosby
Board Certified, Dermatology
14 years in practice
95K people helped
Continue
111,000 doctors available