Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection caused by HSV (herpes simplex virus). There are two types of herpes simplex viruses, HSV-1, that causes herpes near of mouth and lips and HSV-2, that causes herpes in the genitals.
The herpes virus is highly contagious and is passed from one person to another by close, direct contact. The most common mode of transmission is through vaginal, anal or oral sex.
Herpes is a chronic condition. However, many people never have symptoms even though they are carrying the virus. Most of the time, HSV-1 and HSV-2 are inactive and cause no symptoms, but some infected people have outbreaks of blisters and ulcers. Read more about symptoms here.
Herpes is more common than you think. One out of five of the total adolescent and adult population, is infected with HSV-2. HSV-2 infection is more common in women (approximately one out of four women).