Herpes HSV-1 and HSV-2: What You Need to Know
Oral herpes, caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), can be caused by skin-to-skin contact (like kissing) or oral sex.
50 percent to 80 percent of adults in the United States have oral herpes.
Genital herpes, caused by HSV-1 or herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), can be contracted through vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has the disease.
In the United States, about one out of every six people aged 14 to 49 have genital herpes.
Most people with genital herpes have mild symptoms or none at all unless they are experiencing an outbreak. Oral herpes usually manifests as cold sores or fever blisters on the mouth.
Once infected, a person will have herpes simplex virus for the rest of his or her life. While there is no cure, there are medications that can prevent or shorten outbreaks.
HSV-1: Oral Herpes
Oral herpes is usually caused by HSV-1 and can create cold sores around the mouth. It can be spread through intimate contact.
Learn more about oral herpes.
HSV-2: Genital Herpes
Usually caused by HSV-2, genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease that can be contracted by anyone who is sexually active. Genital herpes can be spread through vaginal, oral or anal sex.
Learn more about genital herpes.
In rare circumstances, HSV-1 or HSV-2 can lead to meningitis and encephalitis. Herpes meningoencephalitis is a medical emergency and needs to be diagnosed and treated promptly.
Learn more about herpes meningoencephalitis.
Genital herpes can be spread to a baby during delivery if a woman is actively shedding the virus at the time. Your physician can work with you to prevent this from occurring.
Learn more about birth-acquired herpes.