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What Are the Symptoms of Herpes 2 (HSV-2)?

by Erik Steel
  • Overview

    Herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) is part of the same viral subfamily as viruses that cause cold sores and chicken pox, according to the University of South Carolina School of Medicine. HSV-2 infection in most cases leads to genital herpes.
  • Causes

    Although HSV-2 is the main cause of genital herpes, this condition can also be caused by HSV-1, the cold sore virus, according to MedlinePlus. Similarly, HSV-2 can lead to oral infection, which causes cold sores.
  • Prodrome

    The first symptom of a genital herpes outbreak is a burning, itching or tingling in the area before sores appear. This is called prodrome.
  • Symptoms

    Genital herpes leads to rash with blisters on the genitals or the surrounding areas, including the thighs, buttocks and anus, according to the Mayo Clinic. Other symptoms can include fever, muscle aches, loss of appetite and painful urination, according to MedlinePlus.
  • Time Frame

    The Mayo Clinic reports that the first outbreak generally occurs within a few weeks after contracting the virus. For most people, the first outbreaks are the worst and outbreaks decrease in frequency and intensity over time.
  • Considerations

    Some people never develop symptoms of genital herpes, in spite of HSV-2 infection. Other people experience frequent and severe outbreaks.

    References & Resources