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How long can you have herpes without knowing?

Andrew Bellingham

Andrew Bellingham

Pharmacist | 20+ Years | BPharm | Dip Clin Pharm

Herpes is a very common viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which comes in two main types: HSV-1 (often causing oral herpes) and HSV-2 (primarily causing genital herpes). It’s widespread globally, affecting billions of people.

How long could you have herpes without knowing?

Herpes can remain hidden in your body for a long time because it often doesn’t show obvious symptoms. Some people may carry the herpes virus for months, years, or even decades without realising it. This silent period varies from person to person and can be influenced by factors like your immune system and overall health.

During this time, the virus stays inactive and may not cause any signs of infection. This makes it possible to unknowingly transmit herpes to others through sexual contact. Understanding this silent phase is important for managing your health and preventing transmission.

Frequently asked questions about herpes

How long can herpes go undetected?

Herpes can remain dormant for weeks, months, or years without symptoms, making detection challenging.

Can you have herpes without knowing?

Yes, herpes can be present without noticeable symptoms, leading to unknowing transmission and delayed diagnosis.

Can you have herpes without symptoms?

Yes, it’s possible to have herpes without experiencing any symptoms, which can complicate diagnosis and increase the risk of unknowing transmission.

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