Symptoms

Symptoms of genital herpes simplex begin 2 to 20 days (usually about a week) after exposure, with genital itching, burning, and in women, often severe pain. Infection of the urethra may imitate the symptoms of a bladder infection. Clusters of small red bumps appear on the genitalia, which then become blisters surrounded by redness (figure 25.17). The blisters break in 3 to 5 days, leaving an ulcerated area. The ulcers slowly dry and become crusted and then heal without a scar. Symptoms are the worst in the first 1 to 2 weeks and disappear within 3 weeks. They recur in an irregular pattern; about 75% of patients will have at least one recurrence within a year, and the average is about four recurrences a year. The recurrent symptoms are usually not quite as severe as those of the first episode, and recurrences generally decrease in frequency with time. Some individuals may have recurrences for life.

Figure 25.17 Genital Herpes Simplex on the Shaft of the Penis The lesions typically begin as a group of small vesicles surrounded by redness. Within 3 to 5 days, they break, leaving the small superficial ulcers as shown.The lesions can be very painful, especially in women.

Figure 25.17 Genital Herpes Simplex on the Shaft of the Penis The lesions typically begin as a group of small vesicles surrounded by redness. Within 3 to 5 days, they break, leaving the small superficial ulcers as shown.The lesions can be very painful, especially in women.

25.7 Viral STDs 653

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