Causes of genital herpes

The cause of genital herpes can be from HSV1 (oral herpes or “cold sores”) or HSV2 (genital herpes). Either strain of the same herpes virus can end up on your genitals, although HSV1 prefers to be in the tougher and cooler mucous membrane of the face (exterior mouth/lip region) and HSV2 prefers the moist, warm climate of the genitals. When a strain finds itself in an unpreferable location (HSV-1 on the genitals, for example) the virus will shed less than if it found itself in its preferred location. (Find out more by downloading the free herpes talk e-book and handouts.) So yes, HSV1 can end up on the genitals (if a person with a cold sore gives oral sex, for example, which accounts to 50% of new genital herpes cases!) and HSV2 can end up on the lips (only 1% of oral herpes cases are HSV-2, though).

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