Herpes lesions, or sores, come and go periodically throughout one’s life. You can take medication (suppressive therapy) during recurring outbreaks that might shorten the amount of time that the sores are present for. You can also take the medication daily for the rest of your life to keep the sores from returning.
During the first outbreak of genital herpes, symptoms usually develop within 2 to 20 days after contact with an infected person, and your symptoms may last up to 2 to 3 weeks. In many cases, the first outbreak is so mild it goes unnoticed and mistaken for a yeast infection, a cut, hair bumps, etc. In others, the first attack is more severe, causing visible sores that are painful and may itch, burn, or tingle.