Genital herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and there are two types of herpes simplex virus (HSV):

Herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2)
Herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1)
Both of which may be the cause of genital herpes.

However it is important to note that herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) is most commonly the cause of genital herpes whilst herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV-1) is usually more responsible for the cause of ‘cold sores’.

Anyone who has sexual intercourse can contract genital herpes. The risk of contracting genital herpes is increased in those who have unprotected sexual intercourse and those who change sexual partners more frequently.

Genital herpes is highly infectious when having vaginal, anal or oral sex with an individual with blisters or cold sores and it is still possible to transmit the virus when they have no symptoms of infection.

Although all of our content is written and reviewed by healthcare professionals, it should not be substituted for or used as medical advice. If you have any questions about your health, please speak to your doctor.

Authored Dec 22, 2017 by Joseph Issac, MPharm
Reviewed Mar 23, 2021 by Prabjeet Saundh, MPharm

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