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Incubation period for herpes (HSV2)?

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I don't think that there is a clearcut way to research that because so many people are undiagnosed due to being asymptomatic or having extremely mild outbreaks. Personally, assuming my boyfriend didn't cheat on me (which I have no reason to suspect) and I got it from him, I could have had it up to 17 months before my first outbreak. Assuming I got it from someone else, I would have had it 11-12 months before my first outbreak. I don't know if I have 1 or 2, though. My mom has it as well, and the doctor was pretty sure she had had it for a long time (up to 8 years!) before her first outbreak. @WCSDancer2010 knows someone who had it for 30 years - though I'm not sure if that's 1 or 2.


Basically, a lot of things come into play. Your immune system is a big one. If your body can keep it in check, you may never have an outbreak or it can be many years before the first one. The general rule of thumb is that the older you are, the less severe it is. For example, my mom has had diagnosed with HSV-2 2.5 years ago and has had two outbreaks. I was diagnosed 3 months ago and have had 3 definite "outbreaks." If I take my antivirals when the blisters are just starting to rise, they disappear without bursting within a few days - my first OB was the only full blown OB where the blisters popped and everything. I've had a few other times where I was unsure if it was an OB and took my antivirals anyway. Every person is different and H affects everyone differently, so I don't think drawing a hard statistic for the likelihood of when the first OB will occur, if ever, would be accurate.

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@MMissouri Yep, that stat is the reason why I asked this question.


@ivoryrain Well, this isn't going to help ease my paranoia haha. I'm still unsure about "mild symptoms". From what I know, the first outbreak is suppose to be painful and easy to notice. But looking at the CDC stat, it would seem that many people with HSV-2 don't have painful symptoms, if even any at all.


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I wonder if the severity of the first outbreak depends on the person. Immune system, stress levels, and whether they are sexually active at that point. I would think someone that is not currently having sex would be more likely to overlook a bump or ignore a tingle. In my case, I think my first OB would have been pretty mild if I would have known what was going on, but I didn't, and we kept having sex (which made it worse). Hopefully I'm making sense!

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The simple answer to your question is no ...because there's no way to get that data .... as @MMissouri said, so much comes into play when it comes to the cause/reasons someone may have an OB soon after exposure vs someone who has no idea for months or years.


Immune function, stress, diet, age, whether you have "regular" ingrown hairs or heat rashes, anxiety levels (both because of the stress and because folks that are less anxious may just shrug off a "pimple"), hormones, sexual activity (rough sex seems to make for a tougher first OB from what I have noticed on here...likely because the person has been given a bigger "dose" of the virus than someone who has brief or gentle sex), medications, and even genetics likely come into play with regards to the timing, length, and severity of a first OB. ;)

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