Other methods of diagnosing herpes are available to clinicians, however it's important to understand that the herpes virus is extremely hard to find and the fact that a clinician fails to detect the virus in an active sore does not mean that a person does not have genital herpes.
Occasionally, due to the difficulty of diagnosing herpes clinicians may misdiagnose sores as something else such as ingrown hairs.
A blood test is available that detects antibodies to the virus, however this test cannot tell whether a person has an active genital herpes infection. The blood test can only determine whether a person has been previously infected by HSV and has produced antibodies to the virus. Although antibodies are present they do not protect a person from subsequent outbreaks of herpes. This blood test also cannot distinguish between oral or genital herpes. New blood tests which have the ability to distinguish between HSV type 1 and 2 are currently developed, however they are not available to the general physician population and are used mainly in research hospitals.