Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus.
This article focuses on HSV type 2 infection.
Herpes - genital; Herpes simplex - genital; Herpesvirus 2; HSV-2; HSV-antivirals
Genital herpes affects the skin or mucous membranes of the genitals. The virus is spread from one person to another during sexual contact.
There are 2 types of herpes simplex virus (HSV):
- HSV-1 most often affects the mouth and lips and causes cold sores or fever blisters. But it can spread from the mouth to the genitals during oral sex.
- HSV type 2 (HSV-2) most often causes genital herpes. It can be spread through skin contact or through fluids from the mouth or genitals.
You may become infected with herpes if your skin, vagina, penis, or mouth comes into contact with someone who already has herpes.
You are most likely to get herpes if you touch the skin of someone who has herpes sores, blisters, or a rash. But the virus can still be spread, even when no sores or other symptoms are present. In some cases, you do not know you are infected.
Genital HSV-2 infections are more common in women than men.