Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the herpes simplex virus Type I (HSV-1) and Type II (HSV-2). The Type I virus is the same one that causes cold sores on the mouth, face and lips, although it can also cause sores on the genitals. The Type II virus, however, most often causes sores on the genitals. Herpes can spread to the genitals from a cold sore if hand washing and other hygiene precautions are not taken. Or it can be spread though oral or genital sexual contact. The virus does not have to be in an active state, which means blisters do not have to be present, for a partner to become infected.
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