Published on New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center (

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) infections typically cause characteristic oral and/or genital vesicular lesions.  The General Virology Laboratory (GVL) provides testing for the detection and typing of HSV 1 and 2, as part of the STD testing available for NYS county public health labs and clinics. Furthermore, the GVL also investigates suspected cases of neonatal HSV infections in infants less than 60 days old, which is a reportable disease condition in NYS. The laboratory routinely utilizes a combination of classic viral culture and a real-time PCR assay for detection and type differentiation.

See the following Wadsworth Center Laboratories for additional available STD testing:

See the Wadsworth Center Viral Encephalitis[4] Laboratory for HSV testing on CSF from patients with encephalitis.

Test Menu

Virus Real-Time PCR Viral Culture Preferred Sample Type(s) for Viral STD Testing All Validated Sample Sypes for Molecular Testing* Notes
Herpes Simplex Virus, types 1 and 2 X X Genital swab, or lesion swab Genital swab, lesion swab, brain tissue, and CSF Run as a triplex real-time PCR assay which includes HSV1, HSV2, and VZV; assay differentiates between types 1 and 2.

*Submission of a different specimen type will require an approved Non-permitted Laboratory Test Form[5].



  • Must be collected and sent in liquid viral transport media
  • Flocked swabs are preferred. Do NOT use cotton or calcium alginate-tipped or wooden shafted swabs
  • Volume: at least 1.0 mL; minimum volume: 0.35 mL


  • Fresh/frozen tissue is preferred. Tissues stored in formalin are discouraged as they are often inhibitory to PCR and produce inconclusive results; submission requires special authorization.


  • Specimens must be shipped overnight (or hand couriered)
  • Specimens should arrive Monday through Friday
  • Specimens must remain cold (on frozen ice packs – NO wet ice) or frozen on dry ice (suggested minimum weight 2 kg or 5 lbs of dry ice) during shipment and upon arrival in the laboratory
  • Specimens must be accompanied by either a hand written Infectious Diseases Requisition Form[6] or an electronically generated and printed Remote Order Requisition[7]. If you do not have access, click here[8].
  • Specimens must be packaged and shipped properly by appropriately trained personnel.
  • Please refer to the following for guidance:
  • Specimens that are sent through UPS, Fed Ex, or other commercial courier services should be sent overnight to the address on the right side of the page.