How is genital herpes transmitted?

How is genital herpes transmitted?

Genital herpes is caused by a virus which is transmitted via skin to skin contact, particularly when having sex. It is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the UK. You can have the virus and not have any symptoms, which is why the virus is easily passed on between partners.

Last reviewed: 09/04/2020 by Dr Simran Deo
You can not catch genital herpes from:

  • sharing towels
  • sharing food or drinks
  • kissing someone who has it
  • swimming in a swimming pool
  • shaking hands with someone who has it
  • using a public toilet

You can catch genital herpes from:

  • vaginal sex
  • anal sex
  • oral sex