Herpes is a viral infection that is primarily transmitted through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person during sexual activity. This can include vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
Herpes can also be transmitted through kissing, sharing towels or other personal items with an infected person, and from a mother to her newborn during childbirth.
The herpes virus can be present even when there are no visible symptoms, so it is possible to contract the virus from someone who is asymptomatic or does not have any noticeable outbreaks.
There are two types of herpes viruses that can cause infection: herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). HSV-1 is typically associated with oral herpes and cold sores, while HSV-2 is commonly linked to genital herpes. However, either virus can cause oral or genital herpes.