The virus that causes genital herpes can be spread when it is active in the body. Regular skin – skin on the hand, for example – is protected against all but the most massive invasion because of a natural barrier on the skin called keratin. Sexual contact may include a nongenital sore contacting a genital target. Stephen Sacks, MD, FRCPC, with revisions by the MediResource clinical team. HSV-2 is contracted through forms of sexual contact with a person who has HSV-2. Although a condom may be used, it may still be possible to pass herpes to your partner from uncovered skin.