Watching for Signs of Herpes Seeking Medical Diagnosis Treating Herpes Community Q&A Herpes is caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus. HSV-1 usually manifests as a cold sore, or oral lesion, but may sometimes appear on the genitals. HSV-2 is the most common viral STI in the US and causes infections of the skin and mucous membranes, rectum, eyes, and central nervous system. One of the encouraging things about genital herpes (HSV-2) is that it’s still possible to have a rich and fulfilling sex life.Anywhere from 30 to 95 percent of adults are seropositive for HSV-1, though they may never experience an outbreak.It’s also possible to get genital herpes from HSV-1 if someone who performed oral sex had cold sores during that time.
In general, a person can only get herpes type 2 infection during sexual contact with someone who has a genital HSV-2 infection.
HSV-2 is contracted through forms of sexual contact with a person who has HSV-2.
It is estimated that around 20 percent of sexually active adults in the United States are infected with HSV-2, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
So you can educate yourself about sex with herpes, including what precautions you can take, what your chances are of getting herpes, and types of sexual encounters as they relate to herpes.
For some this may be stating the obvious, but let me first say that you should always tell your partner if you have herpes, even if you have no symptoms. And for sex with herpes to be its most fulfilling and safe, we recommend that you have it in the context of a mutually monogamous relationship, as does the CDC.