The virus will stay in the nerve cells and skin cells even after the outbreak has cleared up. This means that you can get the virus reoccurring and causing symptoms after the first episode.
How often varies between individuals and therefore it helps if you can recognise when you think an outbreak may be starting to try and prevent passing it on to your partner if they do not already have the virus.
The itching, tingling and aching around the area where the blisters were can be a sign that a recurrence is starting, this is the time to avoid skin to skin contact and you can contact the sexual health clinic for further treatment if you wish. Skin to skin contact including kissing the area should be avoided until the symptoms have all disappeared.
A condom can help prevent passing it on if the blisters were covered by the condom but any area of skin infected by the virus that is not covered can still pass the virus on. Avoiding skin to skin contact at this time is the safest choice.
Remember a condom provides a barrier to getting other sexually transmitted infections and is therefore recommended to be used.
Occasionally people can pass the virus on without any symptoms. This is called asymptomatic shedding and happens between recurrences. It is more likely to happen within the first year following the initial episode.
There is no way to predict how often a person will get an outbreak, but remember that you can always contact a sexual health clinic without seeing your GP first, and tell them you have HSV and you will be seen quickly for advice or treatment.