The herpes simplex virus, also known as HSV, is an infection that causes herpes. Herpes can appear in various parts of the body, most commonly on the genitals or mouth. There are two types of the herpes simplex virus. HSV-1: Also known as oral herpes, this type can cause cold sores and fever blisters around the mouth and on the face. Eating from the same utensils, Sharing lip balm, Kissing. The virus spreads more quickly when an infected person is experiencing an outbreak. Anywhere from 30 to 95 percent of adults are seropositive for HSV-1, though they may never experience an outbreak. It’s also possible to get genital herpes from HSV-1 if someone who performed oral sex had cold sores during that time. HSV-2: This type is generally responsible for genital herpes outbreaks. The herpes simplex virus is a contagious virus that can be passed from person to person through direct contact. Children will often contract HSV-1 from early contact with an infected adult. They then carry the virus with them for the rest of their lives.