If you experience symptoms when first infected, they usually appear four to seven days after you have been exposed to the virus. The symptoms are usually more severe first time around than in cases of recurrent infections.
Primary Infection (first outbreak)
Feeling unwell, with aches, pains and flu-like symptoms .
Small blisters that burst to leave red, open sores around your genitals, anal area, thighs and buttocks
blisters and ulcers on the cervix (neck of the womb) in women.
Vaginal discharge in women.
Pain when you pass urine (particularly in women).
These symptoms may last up to 20 days but the sores will eventually scab and heal up without leaving a scar.
The virus remains dormant (inactive) in a nearby nerve but certain triggers can result in the virus travelling back down the nerve that supplies feeling to the area of skin where a breakout can occur again.
You may experience :-
A tingling, burning or itching sensation around your genitals, and sometimes down your leg, before blisters appear.
Painful red blisters appear that burst to leave sores around your genitals, anal area, thighs and buttocks.
Women may get blisters and ulcers on the cervix (neck of the womb).
Most people have four to five outbreaks during the first two years after being exposed to the virus.
However, recurrent outbreaks usually become less severe and occur less often. This is because your body has produced protective antibodies in reaction to the previous infection. Now, your body recognises the virus and is able to fight it more effectively. Also, the virus may reactivate without causing any symptoms of infection at all.