How Do You Know If You Have Herpes

How do you know if you have herpes? The truth is that many people have herpes and don't know it because they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are so mild that they don't know they have the disease. If you think you may have herpes, you should watch carefully for the first signs of the condition.

Most people who contract herpes have an initial outbreak between 4-14 days of exposure to the virus. Your first outbreak is usually the worst outbreak, although this is not always the case. Some people have a very mild first outbreak that they mistake for irritation from shaving or waxing or as an acne outbreak, and they may not have another outbreak for years. This is why it is difficult to pinpoint when a person contracted the virus and who may have given the disease to you. You may be very upset if you suspect you have herpes, and you may want to attack your current sexual partner, but slow down before you do so. You may have contracted herpes years ago from a different partner, and you may only be having your first bad outbreak now due to a trigger such as stress. Your current partner may not even have herpes, or your partner may have gotten the STD from you an neither of you have known you are carriers.

The difficult issue with herpes is that between 50-90 percent of people who have the virus are unaware because their symptoms are either nonexistent or so mild that they have mistaken them as other issues. Keep this in mind as you consider the symptoms associated with a classic case of identifiable herpes.

If you come down with a classic herpes outbreak, it will unfold in the following fashion:

Stage I
Within two weeks of exposure to the herpes virus, you will experience a burning, tingling, itching sensation at the location of the infection, most likely the groin, genitals or buttocks. You may feel slightly feverish, achey and tired. This will last two to three days.

Stage II
You will develop blisters in the groin, genital area or buttocks. These blisters will usually occur in clusters and will usually contain liquid. They may hurt or itch.

Stage III
The blisters will break open and reveal painful ulcers that will last for anywhere from a day to a week.

Stage IV
The blisters will crust over and develop scabs, which will remain for about one week while new skin forms under the scabs. When the scabs fall off, you will have new skin and will hopefully not have any scars.

However, you may not experience a classic herpes outbreak, so it's best to get tested for herpes at least once a year if you are sexually active with more than one partner, have just become active with a new partner, or suspect you may have this STD. Your doctor will be able to give you a formal diagnosis from a simple blood test. This way you will know if you need to practice safe sex with your partner.

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