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Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a very contagious virus that causes infections. There are two types of this virus. One type (HSV-1) usually causes sores around the lips or inside the mouth that are sometimes called fever blisters or cold sores. The other type (HSV-2) usually causes sores on the genitals. Either type can infect the mouth, genital area or another part of the body. HSV spreads most easily when a person comes in direct contact with an infected person’s mucous membranes, saliva, or the oozing fluid from a sore. It is important not to kiss or have sex with anyone when herpes sores are present. However, HSV can be spread even when the infected person has no sores or obvious signs of infection.