Genital Herpes Causes
Herpes is spread by direct contact with an infected person. For example, if you have genital herpes and have sexual intercourse, you can give your partner genital herpes. If you have oral herpes , you can give your partner oral herpes while kissing, and you can also give it to your partner during oral sex.
Two types of herpes simplex virus infections can cause genital herpes:
- HSV type 1 (HSV-1). This is the type that usually causes cold sores or fever blisters around your mouth, though it can be spread to your genital area during oral sex.
- HSV type 2 (HSV-2). This is the type that commonly causes genital herpes. The virus spreads through sexual contact and skin-to-skin contact. HSV-2 is very common and highly contagious whether or not you have an open sore. However, in many people the infection causes no recognized signs or symptoms and can still be spread to a sexual partner.
Because the virus dies quickly outside of the body, it's nearly impossible to get the infection through contact with toilets, towels or other objects used by an infected person.