Typically, another outbreak can appear weeks or months after the first, but it almost always is less severe and shorter than the first outbreak.Although the infection can stay in the body indefinitely, the number of outbreaks tends to decrease over a period of years. Results of a nationally representative study show that genital herpes infection is common in the United States.
Genital HSV-2 infection is more common in women (approximately one out of four women) than in men (almost one out of five).
This may be due to male-to-female transmissions being more likely than female-to-male transmission. HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be found in and released from the sores that the viruses cause, but they also are released between outbreaks from skin that does not appear to be broken or to have a sore.
When signs do occur, they typically appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals or rectum.
The blisters break, leaving tender ulcers (sores) that may take two to four weeks to heal the first time they occur.
More than 30 of these viruses are sexually transmitted, and they can infect the genital area of men and women including the skin of the penis, vulva (area outside the vagina), or anus, and the linings of the vagina, cervix, or rectum.