What are the clinical features of genital herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection?

Updated: Mar 01, 2018
  • Author: Folusakin O Ayoade, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Primary genital herpes is characterized by severe and prolonged systemic and local symptoms. Preexisting antibodies to HSV-1 have an ameliorating effect on disease severity caused by HSV-2. Prior orolabial HSV-1 infection appears to protect against or may lower genital HSV-1 infection risk. Symptoms of primary genital herpes are more severe in women, as are complications. [10, 11, 12, 13]

Clinical features: The incubation period of primary genital herpes is 3-7 days (range, 1 day to 3 weeks). Constitutional symptoms include fever, headache, malaise, and myalgia (prominent in the first 3-4 days). Local symptoms include pain, itching, dysuria, vaginal and urethral discharge, and tender lymphadenopathy.


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