What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Genital Herpes?

Do I have Genital Herpes?

Take our quick quiz to find out if you could have Genital Herpes, including individual recommendations!

Genital Herpes Symptom Checker


Symptoms make take upto a month or longer to appear after infection.

Symptoms of genital herpes vary greatly from one person to another. Some people may not even be aware that they have herpes because their symptoms are not really noticeable. Symptoms that may be noticed are:

  • Sores near the point on the body where the virus entered
    • Initially small red bumps
    • Progress to blisters
    • Then to itchy, possibly painful sores that will crust over before healing
  • Fever
  • Body aches
  • Swollen glands near the groin
  • Pain during urination
  • Vaginal discharge

See more: Anonymous Genital Herpes Symptom Checker

How Do I Know if I Have Herpes?

Genital herpes is characterized by the breakout of ulcers in the genital area. If symptoms do appear, the first episode of herpes symptoms (called primary outbreak) is usually severe. Majority of the persons who suffer primary outbreak will have further symptom outbreaks. The virus can also re-activate with no further outbreaks. When this happens, the virus can still be transmitted through non-visible sores.

However, most infected persons aren’t aware they have genital herpes – they mistake the symptoms for insect bites or they don’t manifest any noticeable symptoms at all. For this reason, it’s important to get regularly tested for HSV if you’re sexually active. See our comprehensive guide to STD testing for more information.

Mark Riegel, MD

Quick snapshot

Can it be cured?

No. Viruses don't have cures, but symptoms can be controlled with proper treatment.

Type of Infection

Viral. Caused by the herpes simplex virus.

How is it treated?

Antiviral Medicine. Symptoms are treated with antiviral medications (Zovirax, Famvir, or Valtrex), however there is no cure.

Recovery Time

1 month or longer. The symptoms from the initial outbreak can take over 20 days to disappear.

Can I have sex?

Yes. During your initial outbreak, you should refrain from sex until all symptoms are gone.

Can I get re-infected?

Yes. Once you get infected, you will have the virus for life.