Herpes simplex type 2 (HSV-2) is the primary cause of genital herpes, a common sexually transmitted disease. Following primary infection at skin or mucosal surfaces, viral DNA is rapidly transported to the innervating ganglia by retrograde axonal transport. Here the viral genome circularizes and establishes a life-long latency in sensory neurons. Stress stimuli trigger the resumption of virus gene transcription and replication, resulting in clinically overt skin and mucosal lesions and/or asymptomatic shedding. Genital herpes is acquired by sexual contact, including orogenital contact, with contaminated secretions or mucosal surfaces. The first time infection of the mother may lead to severe illness in pregnancy and may be associated with virus transmission from mother to foetus/newborn.