Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a virus from the family of human herpes viruses. The HSV has two types (Type 1 and Type 2) they are very similar and both types can cause symptoms on the genitals.

Both types can be caught on the face or the genitals; Type 1 is more likely to re occur on the face, and Type 2 more likely to re occur on the genitals.

The virus is passed on during direct skin to skin contact with an affected area of your partner’s skin when the virus was present. Sex and kissing are the most common ways, including kissing the genitals (oral sex).

The virus is not passed on through clothing, bedding, toilets, baths or swimming pools as the virus dies quickly away from the skin.