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Is it possible to have herpes and not know it because you have never had any sores?

Yes. Millions of people have genital herpes and don’t even know it, because they never had symptoms or their symptoms were minor. Because the sores of an outbreak go away and do not always recur, and because they can be mistaken for minor problems like razor burn, many people never see a health care provider to get a proper diagnosis.

When someone does have symptoms, they can include

  • recurring rash with clusters or blistery sores appearing anywhere on the vagina, vulva, cervix, penis, anus, buttocks, or elsewhere on the body
  • pain and discomfort in the genital area
  • itching and burning sensations during urination

Sores can last up to several weeks and then go away. Sores can return up to six times a year or more, or they may not return for years, if ever.

If you think you’ve been exposed to herpes or have symptoms (today or in the past) that sound like those described above, see your health care provider. She or he can take swabs of the sores or perform a blood test to see if you have herpes. Although there is no cure for herpes, there are prescription drugs available to treat the symptoms and to reduce the number of recurrences.

Tags: herpes, STDs