What are the signs and symptoms of genital herpes recurrences?

Updated: Mar 17, 2020
  • Author: Sean P McGregor, DO, PharmD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
  • Print

After primary infection, the virus may remain latent for months to years until a recurrence is triggered. Reactivation of HSV-2 in the lumbosacral ganglia leads to recurrences below the waist. Recurrent clinical outbreaks are milder and often preceded by a prodrome of pain, itching, tingling, burning, or paresthesia.

Individuals who are exposed to HSV and have asymptomatic primary infections may experience an initial clinical episode of genital herpes months to years after becoming infected. Such an episode is not as severe as a true primary outbreak.

More than one half of individuals who are HSV-2 seropositive do not experience clinically apparent outbreaks. However, these individuals still have episodes of viral shedding and can transmit the virus to their sexual partners.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!