Early symptoms tend to happen around 2 to 12 daysTrusted Source after infection. There are two phases, latent and prodrome.
Latent phase: Infection has occurred but there are no symptoms.
Prodrome phase: At first, the symptoms of a genital herpes outbreak are typically mild. As the outbreak progresses, the symptoms become more severe. The sores will typically heal within 3 to 7 days.
What to expect
You may feel a light itchiness or tingling around your genitals or notice some tiny, firm red or white bumps that are uneven or jagged in shape.
These bumps may also be itchy or painful. If you scratch them, they can open up and ooze white, cloudy fluid. This can leave painful ulcers behind that can be irritated by clothing or other materials than come into contact with your skin.
can show up anywhere around the genitals and the surrounding areas, including the:
The first outbreak may also come along with symptoms that are like those of the flu virus, including:
lymph node swelling around the groin, arms, or throat
The first outbreak is usually the most severe. Blisters may be extremely itchy or painful, and sores may appear in many areas around the genitals.
Here are a few ways a doctor may diagnose genital herpes:
Physical examination: A doctor will look at any physical symptoms and check your overall health for any other signs of genital herpes, such as lymph node swelling or a fever.
Blood test: A sample of blood is taken and sent to a laboratory for testing. This test can show the levels of antibodies in your bloodstream for fighting off an HSV infection. These levels are higher when you’ve had a herpes infection or if you’re experiencing an outbreak.
Virus culture: A small sample is taken from the fluid oozing from a sore, or from the area that’s infected if there isn’t an open sore. They’ll send the sample to a laboratory to be analyzed for the presence of HSV-2 viral material to confirm a diagnosis.
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test: First, a blood sample or tissue sample is taken from an open sore. Then, a PCR test is done at a laboratory with DNA from your sample to check for the presence of viral material in your blood — this is known as the viral load.
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