Time Between Outbreaks

Dear Dr. Rob:

I found out yesterday I have Herpes Simplex Type 2. My question is in 2004, I was tested for herpes and other STDs; it all came back neg. Could I have had herpes in 2004 and it not show up on a STD test? My other question is after someone gets over their first outbreak of genital herpes, how long before the next outbreak happens?

Dr. Rob’s Response:

Dear Poster Just Diagnosed:

It is very possible that in 2004 you did not have a Herpes Select Test, which was uncommon then, and you did get one now, which will clearly distinguish between Herpes Type 1 and Type 2.

Second question: Relating to how long between the first outbreak and the next, can be forever or 2 days. There is no clear-cut periodicity. Many people do not even realize they have an outbreak and have herpes without ever having an outbreak. Many people get herpes outbreaks 5 to 10 times during the first year, so anything is possible. Nonetheless, you are an asymptomatic shedder if you have herpes and you can transmit it to your partner. Safe sex is of great importance.


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