Saturday, October 25, 2014
Monday, August 31, 2009 Tim W, Community Member, asks

Q: Can Genital Herpes be dormant for years before first symptoms?

I have been in a monogamous relationship for 4 years (my partners has too). I just had symptoms of genital herpes for the first time.  The last girl I dated before my current partner had HSV 2 and told me about it (after we had been intimate a number of times). We stayed together for 6 months and continued to be intimate as she told me she was on treatment and was not contagious between flare-ups.  


My question is is it possible that I got herpes from my old girlfriend but had no symptoms for nearly five years?  And now get symptoms for the first time?  Is this even possible?



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Answers (2)
Disclosing Herpes, Community Member
1/ 4/11 3:26am

When I first became infected with herpes, my doctor said my ex-boyfriend had it. I became indignant because he was also a doctor and assured me that he didn't have any STDs prior to having sex. The symtoms disappeared quickly and the swab test came back negative. Several months later I developed another sore and flu like symptoms. A different doctor suggested that I had it and never knew for years since I was so indignant that my boyfriend assured me that he didn't have it. Guess what? He lied and gave it me (we are no longer together). He felt that since he had been asymtomatic for years (no outbreaks), he couldn't give it to me. Even with valtrex and condoms, there is still a 20% risk in getting herpes. There is no medication that can prevent a partner from being infected with herpes. That person is wishing they can have sex like an unifected partner and are very selfish for not being honest with a partner who is ignorant about herpes. Trust me, it never goes away. I have a very symptomtic case after five years and on valtrax.

dbe86, Community Member
11/28/09 11:01am

Actually, yes you can be asymptomatic for many years after infection and before the initial onset or outbreak. I had my first outbreak around 1995 but had had no sexual contact outside of marriage for the previous 15 years, and I trust my wife, although it's possible she has it and is asymptomatic. My MD who diagnosed it, is doubtful, probably because a long initial latency like that is rare. I've seen comments on other web sites that confirm the possibility of a long period of latency. It is rare but not that uncommon.

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By Tim W, Community Member— Last Modified: 01/04/11, First Published: 08/31/09