There are cases where a person can have the herpes virus and show little or no symptoms, often referred to as asymptomatic herpes.
Can the herpes virus spread if there are no symptoms?
The herpes virus can occasionally be spread when there are no symptoms due to a phenomena known as Viral Shedding.
It is possible for a person to carry the herpes virus without knowing that they have it, in fact, up to 80% of people who are infected with HSV-2 show no signs of the infection. So it is possible for a person to unwittingly transmit the infection to their partner.
The symptoms of herpes can vary greatly between individuals. It might be totally unnoticeable in one person, but cause severe blistering in their partner.
Dormancy Periods (times when the virus shows no symptoms)
The herpes virus can lay dormant for various time periods and may be in your system for a time period before any symptoms begin to show. The usual incubation period of the virus (time before any symptoms show) is approximately two to twelve days after the initial exposure to the virus.
The virus can remain inactive in the body for long periods. Most of the time when Herpes sores are not present on the skin the virus remains in a latent (inactive) state in the central nervous system, where it does no damage.
When the virus reactivates (wakes up), it travels nerve paths to the surface of the skin, sometimes causing an outbreak of symptoms.
If you think that you may be a carrier of the herpes virus you can obtain a Herpes Blood Test which detects the levels of HSV-1 and HSV-2 antibodies in your system.