Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2) herpes simplex viruses. An estimated 776,000 adults in the U.S. get new herpes infections each year, and women are more likely than men to contract the HSV-2 virus. Symptoms may be mild, but when they do occur include blisters that appear around the genitals, rectum or mouth.