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how long between exposure and symptoms?

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Hi everyone,

I was wondering if anyone knew the typical time between being exposed to the virus and having symptoms. I know that the virus can stay dormant and all that, but I was wondering if anyone knew how common it is to show symptoms 2-3 weeks after exposure to HSV-1.

I think MC37 Pilot said it was 99% of the time, you get an outbreak soon after. Is this true? I can't find this information online.

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I think MC37 Pilot said it was 99% of the time, you get an outbreak soon after. Is this true? I can't find this information online.

Just to clarify, I was not quoting a statistic on that. I've never read a statistic about what percentage of infections lead to symptoms within the typical 2-21 days or whatever it is..

My 99% number was just my personal observation from myself and others I know.

My personal experience has been that you get infected, you have an outbreak like... 2 days later...

I don't know what actual statistic would be.

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  • 9 years later...

I definity didn't fit the bill of showing symptoms 2-21 days after exposure, as I just started to show any symptoms about 3 weeks ago and my last sexual encounter was over six months before that. Everyone is different, so the "typical" doesn't apply to ALL cases. Obviously that is also true because many people find out they have it because they had contact with someone who didn't even know they had it, so those people probably didn't fit within the 2-21 day range either.

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Justme do you have hsv1? It does seem that hsv shows up quick if you are going to have an outbreak. I had mine about 4 days after exposure.

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I'm not sure on the type actually. When I had the culture test done initially they didn't test for type for some reason. My doctor thinks its all the same somehow, although I just went back in today to talk to her about it and she have me the request for bloodwork typing, but told me that my insurance may not cover doing it. I have to call them tomorrow to figure it out.

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I would definately try to find out. People with hsv1 tend to have a ob pretty quickly if they are going to have one and then many don't ever have another. But with hsv2, it seems it varies widely fron a few weeks to many years before something happens.

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The biggest determinant as to whether you experience symptoms and an outbreak at the time of infection with HSV is whether you already have HSV-1 antibodies from an established infection.

Hence if you become infected with HSV-1 or HSV-2 and do not have an established infection (which you obviously won't when you are initially infected with HSV-1) then you are very likely to have symptoms and an outbreak.

Hence as you say a lot of women with a new genital HSV-1 infection will know about it pretty quickly, but this applies to HSV-2 as well. I'd say this happens in about 75% of infections.

HSV-1 from childhood is very common, in at least 50% of the population. The chances of these people having an asymptomatic infection of HSV-2 is very high, again I'd guess 75% plus.

This is why again as you say there are quite a few people with stories that their HSV-2 showed up years after they were infected. The strains though are probably roughly equally likely to cause symptoms in the absence of antibodies to either type. Of the two, you'd have to suggest that HSV-2 is more 'consistent' in its behaviour and is detected to a greater degree of accuracy and is far more at home in the genital area than any other bodily location. HSV-1 seems to have a bit more transportability, in some is harder to detect and symptoms less consistent.

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