First Time User? Sign Up Now
First Time User? Enroll now.
Home > Health Library > Herpes Simplex
Herpes simplex is a virus that can cause painful blisters and sores. The virus usually affects the skin and the thin layers of tissue that moisten, lubricate, and protect certain parts of the body (mucous membranes).
The two main types of herpes simplex viruses are type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2). Both types of the virus can cause sores on the lips (cold sores) and sores on the genitals (genital herpes). HSV-1 more often causes cold sores. HSV-2 more often causes genital sores. The viruses are transmitted by direct contact, such as touching a sore directly or through sexual contact.
A herpes infection may cause only a single outbreak of sores. But in many cases the person will have recurrent outbreaks. Recurring infections can be triggered by factors such as stress, fatigue, sunlight, or another infection, such as a cold or flu.
Treatment can reduce the number and severity of outbreaks but cannot cure the infection.
Herpes zoster, another form of herpes virus, causes chickenpox and shingles.
Current as of:
September 11, 2018
Medical Review:Sarah A. Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Kevin C. Kiley, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
1430 N Salem Street
Apex, NC 27502
2615 Lake Drive
Raleigh, NC 27607
901 Ridgefield Drive
Raleigh, NC 27609
4420 Lake Boone Trail
Raleigh, NC 27607
357 Carolina Arbors Drive
Durham, NC 27703
UNC REX Healthcare4420 Lake Boone TrailRaleigh, NC 27607, USA919-784-3100
Chosen for Excellence
Co-Worker & Physician Login
UNC Health Talk
Copyright 2019 UNC Health Care. All rights reserved.