They're cousins. Shingles is caused by varicella zoster virus. Herpes is caused by herpes simplex virus. Both are in the category of herpesviruses, but they're different. It gets confusing, because singles is also known as "herpes zoster." the lesions of herpes and shingles can look very similar: blisters on a red base than open, ooze, and crust over.