A virus - the same one that causes a cold sore or on your mouth - but this is on your genitals.
What are the symptoms?
Well, it's a bloody great cold sore on you penis or vagina - hard to miss! Saying that, you will experience at first an itching, burning or tingling sensation in the groin area and when you first get it, the symptoms may last two to three weeks.
Is there treatment available and what is it?
Yes, but the virus will remain in your body, appearing when your body is run down or stressed. For each outbreak you can take pain killers and there are new anti-viral drugs available.
Are there long term effects?
Once you've got it, you'll never get rid of it. Herpes is for life. If you catch it then you will have to learn to cope with the attacks with prescriptions from your doctor.
But not tacky. Say hi and ask what they're doing this weekend - and have a plan to suggest you think they'll like.
Relax and think: getting to know you. Rather than: getting it