How long does Genital Herpes last

By  , Expert Content
Jan 18, 2013

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Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease. People with genital herpes often get bothered as it is considered as a dangerous and life-long infection. Read to know how long genital herpes may last.    

Herpes simplex virus infection: Genital herpes infection caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV) cannot be cured—it is a life-long infection. The virus lies dormant in the body in a nearby nerve after the initial infection and can reactivate later (sometime due to an obvious trigger factor, but in most cases there is no trigger factor). The antiviral medications prescribed for treatment of genital herpes does not cure the infection. The antiviral drugs may;

  • shorten the duration of symptoms during an initial outbreak (the sores heal sooner)
  • decrease the severity and duration of symptoms in cases with recurrent outbreaks
  • decrease the frequency of recurrent outbreaks
  • reduce the risk of transmitting the infection to another person.

Primary infection: The initial infection is called primary infection and recurrent infection are called "herpes outbreak." The primary infection may or may not cause symptoms but the personcan still be contagious.During the primary infection groups of small, painful blisters tend to erupt in crops over 1-2 weeks (around your genitals and/or anus). The blisters ulcerate and the ulcers and blisters can last up to 10-20 days. Then they gradually heal without scarring.

Recurrent herpes outbreak: During a herpes outbreak, the dormant virus is activated and it travels down the nerve fibers to the site of the original infection (genital herpesor recurrent cold sores if the primary infection was around the mouth) where it causes the typical redness and blisters. The symptoms may recur many times in year in some people whereas other may have few recurrence(may be even years apart). During recurrence the symptoms tend to be less severe and shorter than the first episode (symptoms usually last 7-10 days, during a recurrent attack unlike 10-20 days during the primary attack). The severity and frequency of recurrent outbreaks tend to decreaseover time.



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