The most common symptoms of herpes are sores around the mouth and blisters on the genital area. The majority of people may not display any symptoms for months or even years after infection but those that do display symptoms show signs of infection after 4 -7 days.
A primary infection (or first occurrence) is usually more severe than subsequent infections and in genital herpes symptoms include pain when urinating, blisters and ulcers of the cervix, vaginal discharge, fever, clod sores.
In recurrent infections burning or tingling around the genitals can be felt before blisters appear. Recurrences tend to happen less often and are milder but people with HSV type 2 will suffer more recurrences that those with type 1.
During the body’s first exposure to the herpes virus, the immune system develops antibodies and other weapons against the virus. During a recurrence, then, this “immune memory” can help to fight off infection more quickly.