The herpes simplex virus (HSV) is the cause of both genital and oral herpes. It’s categorized into two types: Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 (HSV-1) and Herpes Simplex Type 2 (HSV-2). While HSV-1 is primarily spread through oral contact, HSV-2 is sexually transmitted.

See also: What Is Herpes? How To Deal With A Herpes Diagnosis

The Difference Between HSV-1 and HSV-2

Although both HSV-1 and HSV-2 are forms of the herpes virus, there are some key differences between both; from how it's contracted to what part of the body it affects.


HSV-1 is the most common of herpes simplex virus globally with an estimated 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 believed to be infected by it worldwide [1]. HSV-1 is transmitted through oral contact and is the cause of oral herpes; perhaps better known as the common cold sore.

Some common signs of a HSV-1 infection include:

  • Tingling and itching around the lips
  • Blisters along the border of the lips

See also: Neonatal Herpes: Can Babies Contract Herpes?


According to the World Health Organization, it’s estimated that 491 million people aged 15-49 have the HSV-2 infection worldwide [2]. HSV-2 is transmitted through sexual contact and is the cause of genital herpes.

Some common signs of a HSV-2 infection include:

  • Pain or itching in the genital area
  • Small bumps or blisters
  • Ulcers

See also: Can Herpes go Away on its Own?

One of the best ways of lowering your risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection is by regularly screening your sexual health. This can be done with your local doctor or from the comfort of your own home with an at-home lab test.

LetsGetChecked’s at-home Herpes Test can detect herpes simplex antibodies for either HSV-1 or HSV-2. Online results will be available within 5 days and our dedicated medical team will be there to offer a helping hand should you have any questions.

See also: How do you Check Herpes From Home?


  1. World Health Organization. Herpes Simplex Virus. Online:, 2020
  2. World Health Organization. Herpes Simplex Virus. Online:, 2020