If symptoms occur, they can range from a mild soreness to painful blisters on the genitals and surrounding area. This means that the virus is most commonly passed on by having vaginal, anal or oral sex, or just close genital contact with an infected person. In people who have recurrences, their frequency can vary greatly. Some people do not have recurrences at all after a first episode of symptoms. First episodes of herpes usually occur within two weeks after the virus is transmitted. Symptoms of genital herpes vary greatly from one episode to the next, and from one person to the next. Even if you’re a person with recurring symptoms that you can usually recognize as herpes, it is very likely there will be days when you won’t be aware that the virus has reactivated and traveled to the skin. In addition, people with HSV-2 can expect to have recurrences that do not cause symptoms. Antibodies are the body’s natural form of defence and continue to be produced long after the initial episode. However it is now known that transmission can occur when herpes blisters or sores are not present. As mentioned earlier, the severity of herpes symptoms can vary greatly from one person to another.
The strongest predictor for infection is a person’s number of lifetime sex partners. Classic outbreaks consist of a skin prodrome and possible constitutional symptoms such as headache, fever, and inguinal lymphadenopathy. Infected persons experience a median of four recurrences per year after their first episode, but rates vary greatly. At least 50 million persons in the United States have genital HSV infection,2 and an estimated 500,000 to 700,000 cases of symptomatic first-episode genital HSV infections occur annually.3 There is a concerning relationship between human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and genital HSV infection because the interaction of HSV-2 and HIV-1 may result in more efficient transmission of HIV-1 and an increased rate of HIV replication during HSV reactivation. The symptoms vary with each individual and will often depend on the type of HSV (1 or 2) and its location, overall health and the body’s immunity to the virus. If a person has been infected with the herpes virus it does not necessarily mean that they will ever experience an outbreak or a re-ocurrence. However, the lesion should still heal normally and disappear after the outbreak has completed its cycle. Typically, another outbreak can appear weeks or months after the first, but it almost always is less severe and shorter than the first outbreak. Transmission can occur from an infected partner who does not have a visible sore and may not know that he or she is infected. HSV-1 infection of the genitals can be caused by oral-genital or genital-genital contact with a person who has HSV-1 infection. The signs and symptoms associated with HSV-2 can vary greatly.
Recurrences and Outbreaks When Herpes Simplex Virus becomes active, it begins to multiply, and then comes to the surface along the nerve paths. Some have theorized that herpes takes the path of least resistance when coming to the surface, which may explain why some people have their recurrences in the same spot time after time, and why other people’s outbreaks change to an area like the anus where there may be repeated abrasion as a trigger. Recurrence rates vary greatly, and studies indicate that as many as 80 to 90 of people infected with HSV will experience recurrences, generally within 3-6 months after initial outbreak. The first sign of an upcoming occurrence, prodrome can occur from 30 minutes to a few days prior to an outbreak. The first episode is often more severe and may be associated with fever, muscle pains, swollen lymph nodes and headaches. Herpes transmission occurs between discordant partners; a person with a history of infection (HSV seropositive) can pass the virus to an HSV seronegative person. The frequency and severity of recurrent outbreaks vary greatly between people. Typically, another outbreak can appear weeks or months after the first, but it almost always is less severe and shorter than the first episode. HSV-1 infection of the genitals almost always is caused by oral-genital sexual contact with a person who has the oral HSV-1 infection. However, if signs and symptoms occur during the first episode, they can be quite pronounced. The signs and symptoms associated with HSV-2 can vary greatly.
Genital Herpes: A Review
After the first outbreak, the herpes virus stays in the nerve cells below the skin and becomes inactive. Symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. The frequency and severity of the recurrent episodes vary greatly. In general, recurrent episodes occur most often in the first year after initial infection. Most persons with recurrent herpes due to HSV-2 have outbreaks 3 5 times a year. After the first outbreak, the herpes virus stays in the nerve cells below the skin and becomes inactive. As time goes on, the outbreaks happen less often, heal faster, and don’t hurt as much. Symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. Taking medicine for herpes may lower the number of outbreaks you have and can also prevent an episode from getting worse. A person who has genital herpes infection can easily pass or transmit the virus to an uninfected person during sex. Other symptoms that may go with the first episode of genital herpes are fever, headache, muscle aches, painful or difficult urination, vaginal discharge, and swollen glands in the groin area. An infected person may know than an outbreak is about to happen by a tingling feeling or itching in the genital area, or pain in the buttocks or down the leg. The frequency and severity of recurrent episodes vary greatly. Genital herpes can be transmitted with or without the presence of sores or other symptoms. The primary episode usually occurs within two weeks after the virus is transmitted, and lesions typically heal within two to four weeks. The signs and symptoms associated with HSV-2 can vary greatly among individuals. There is no treatment that can cure herpes, but antiviral medications can shorten and prevent outbreaks for whatever period of time the person takes the medication.