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Herpes Signs and Symptoms

Genital Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2). A person can become infected with herpes if he or she had contact with someone infected with herpes virus. HSV-1 is spread through saliva and can cause both oral and genital lesions (cold sores). HSV-2 is spread through sexual contact, with or without the presence of an active lesion.

Genital Herpes Symptoms

Symptoms of genital herpes vary from person to person and can include:

  • tingling
  • itching or burning sensation
  • pain in the thighs, buttocks, or genital area
  • vaginal discharge
  • a feeling of pressure in the abdominal area
  • flu-like symptoms (which may include swollen glands, headache, muscle ache or fever)
  • painful or difficult urination

Initial symptoms of genital herpes typically appear within 2 to 10 days of acquiring the disease and last approximately 2 to 3 weeks. However, people with genital herpes may be unaware they have the disease because they do not recognize or experience these symptoms. The first infection may be mild for some, while others experience painful sores and lesions at the site(s) of infection.

Herpes Recurrences

The herpes simplex virus (HSV-1 or HSV-2) will remain in a dormant state after contracting the infection. Some people with HSV-1 and HSV-2 will not experience symptomatic recurrences. HSV-1 and HSV-2 can reactivate without any visible symptoms at any time, as small amounts of the virus can be shed and affect a person's partner (asymptomatic viral shedding). The frequency and severity of recurrences vary greatly, though some experience outbreaks approximately four to six times per year.

Herpes Signs And Symptoms
Herpes Facts
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