ZocdocAnswersHerpes: is it possible to have no symptoms until 4 months later?

Question

Herpes: is it possible to have no symptoms until 4 months later?

i had sexual intercourse with someone who may have herpes about 4 months ago, is it possible for the symptoms to start after all this time?

Answer

Herpes viruses can be so frustrating for patients because of their latency period, ie the time between exposure/infection and the time when symptoms become evident. In fact, a significantly higher percentage of people in the United States have a latent herpes infection than is often appreciated. The best thing to do is to speak with your primary care physician. If you had unprotected intercourse with a person with herpes, it is definitely possible for you to not manifest symptoms until months or even years later. The odds of becoming infected yourself from sexual activity with an infected partner is related to whether or not that person had active herpes lesions (and thus high viral shedding) at the time of intimate contact. Again, in this situation, the best thing to do is make an appointment to speak with your primary care physician. You can go over your health history with your doctor and make sure that you are up to date on all health screening for your age and medical comorbidities. In addition, if you had unprotected sex you are at risk for several other sexually transmitted infections in addition to herpes that also may or may not have immediate symptoms. To protect your health and the health of future partners it is important to make sure that you are tested appropriately and have access to safe contraception.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.