Two types of herpes simplex virus infections can cause genital herpes:
- 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. Recurrences are much less frequent than they are with HSV-2 infection.
- 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.
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.
May 21, 2014
- Genital herpes: CDC fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/STDFact-herpes-detailed.htm. Accessed Jan. 7, 2014.
- Frequently asked questions. Gynecologic problems FAQ054. Genital herpes. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq054.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20140109T0914550331. Accessed Jan. 9, 2014.
- Albrecht MA. Epidemiology, clinical manifestations and diagnosis of genital herpes simplex virus infection. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 7, 2014.
- Genital herpes. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/genitalherpes/pages/default.aspx. Accessed Jan. 7, 2014.
- Albrecht MA. Treatment of genital herpes simplex virus infection. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 7, 2014.