The very first genital herpes outbreak tends to be the most severe, so don’t think that it’s representative of what you’ll be experiencing for the rest of your life! The experience gets much easier to handle. I promise. When you first get herpes, the body hasn’t had a chance to develop any immunity to resist the herpes virus. This foreign intruder launches a sneak attack on the body before it has adequate time to prepare a proper defense. With time, the severity and how often the herpes outbreaks occur lessen as the body builds immunity.

The majority of people who are first exposed to genital herpes (either HSV1 or HSV2) will have their first herpes outbreak within two weeks of exposure. Some people (15-20%) will never have a visible outbreak over their entire lifetime (due to herpes dormancy). Even in these cases where there is no visible outbreak, you can still spread herpes due to viral shedding (invisible herpes outbreaks).

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