When people hear “What is herpes?” most immediately think of genital herpes specifically. But herpes is a large family of viruses including cold sores, genital herpes, mononucleosis and even chicken pox! The two strains of viruses that can manifest as genital herpes are HSV1 (the strain that causes oral cold sores) and HSV2. For the most part, HSV2 is the strain that manifests as genital herpes, but HSV1 can show up on the genitals, too. You can get genital herpes from oral sex. These herpes viruses are transmitted only via skin-to-skin contact. There are many herpes myths that abound. Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted virus. The herpes virus doesn’t have to be visible on the skin as an outbreak in order to pass it on due to viral shedding. The good news is that herpes isn’t really that big of a deal as far as physical symptoms are concerned. “Most individuals have no or only minimal signs or symptoms from HSV-1 or HSV-2 infection.” (CDC) A lot of people experience shame (especially when disclosingI have herpes“) with a herpes diagnosis thanks to the strong herpes stigma that’s pervasive in our culture. That’s why the herpes opportunity was created. (How can herpes possibly be an opportunity?)