What Are HSV-2 Symptoms
While anyone can be infected by the HSV-2 virus, not everyone will show symptoms. Most patients with HSV-2 experience a prodrome (symptoms of an outbreak) of pain, burning itching, or tingling at the site where blisters will form. This prodrome stage may last anywhere from a few hours, to one to two days. The HSV-2 infection prodrome can occur for both the primary infection and recurrent infections. The prodrome for recurrent infections may be severe and cause a severe burning or stabbing pain in the genital area, legs, or buttocks.
The first symptoms of HSV-2 usually occur within two to seven days after contact with an infected person, but may take up to two weeks. Symptoms of the primary infection are usually more severe than those of recurrent infections. For up to 70% of the patients, the primary infection causes symptoms which affect the whole body including fatigue, headache, fever, chills, muscle aches, loss of appetite, as well as painful, swollen lymph nodes in the groin. These symptoms are greatest during the first three to four days of the infection and disappear within one week. The primary infection is more severe in women than in men.
Recurrent HSV-2 Outbreaks
One or more outbreaks of HSV-2 per year occur in 60-90% of those infected. About 40% of the persons with HSV-2 will experience six or more outbreaks each year. HSV-2 recurrences are less severe than the primary infection; however, women still experience more severe symptoms and pain than men.