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The first outbreak

The first outbreak of genital herpes is usually the most traumatic and uncomfortable, and occurs around 2 -7 days after sexual exposure. In the more severe cases, it can cause flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache and muscle aches as well as blisters and sores in the genital region, buttocks and upper thighs. Many people also experience itching and burning on and around their genitals and pain when urinating. A severe first outbreak often means you are more likely to experience outbreaks in the future.

Some people only experience mild symptoms such as tingling, itching and redness with their first outbreak, and this often means they are likely to experience mild outbreaks in the future.

The first outbreak of genital herpes can last as long as 20 days, but the good news is that future outbreaks tend to be less severe and less painful. This is because your body develops antibodies which will help fight future outbreaks.

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Areas where a lesion can occur