How Do Genital Herpes Spread
The herpes virus causes sores to develop in the affected areas. The sores or lesions will go away and then come back. When the sores return, this is called an outbreak. The disease can be found and released from the sores, but it can also be passed between outbreaks through the skin that does not appear to be broken or to have a sore.
HSV-1 virus, the type associated with fever blisters or cold sores in the mouth and lips, is passed by kissing, in the saliva, or eating utensils.
HSV-2 virus, the type that causes genital herpes, spreads by having sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal) with an infected person. Herpes virus spreads more easily during outbreaks. However, herpes may be passed to others between outbreaks.
A person with genital herpes can also infect others during oral sex. The virus is not spread through objects, such as toilet seats or hot tubs.