Skip navigation
   Other Topics: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W XYZ All Topics

Herpes Simplex

Also called: HSV 
 
 

Herpes is an infection that is caused by a herpes simplex virus (HSV). Oral herpes causes cold sores around the mouth or face. Genital herpes affects the genitals, buttocks or anal area. Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). It affects the genitals, buttocks or anal area. Other herpes infections can affect the eyes, skin, or other parts of the body. The virus can be dangerous in newborn babies or in people with weak immune systems.

There are two types of HSV:

  • HSV type 1 most commonly causes cold sores. It can also cause genital herpes.
  • HSV type 2 is the usual cause of genital herpes, but it also can infect the mouth.

HSV spreads through direct contact. Some people have no symptoms. Others get sores near the area where the virus has entered the body. They turn into blisters, become itchy and painful, and then heal.

Most people have outbreaks several times a year. Over time, you get them less often. Medicines to help your body fight the virus can help lessen symptoms and decrease outbreaks.

 

 

 
 
Basics Learn More Multimedia & Cool Tools

 

 
Research Reference Shelf For You

 

 

 

A photomicrograph of a herpes cell culture

National Institutes of Health

Languages

 

  • MedlinePlus links to health information from the National Institutes of Health and other federal government agencies. MedlinePlus also links to health information from non-government Web sites. See our disclaimer about external links and our quality guidelines.

 

 

 

Herpes Simplex - Multiple Languages

MedlinePlus links to health information from the National Institutes of Health and other federal government agencies. MedlinePlus also links to health information from non-government Web sites. See our disclaimer about external links and our quality guidelines.