Genital herpes is much more prevalent than you might imagine. This form of herpes, which is caused by the type 2 herpes simplex virus, spreads so easily and even without sexual intercourse.
So many of the normal precautions against sexually transmitted diseases are ineffective against genital herpes, which spreads purely by skin to skin contact!
How Many People have Herpes
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) over 16 percent, or one person in six, carries the herpes simplex type 2 virus. Again according to the CDC the incidence among African Americans is higher than the national average at almost 40 percent!
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A startling statistic by the CDC shows that almost nine out of ten of those who carry the virus are unaware that they have genital herpes. Perhaps this, along with the fact that normal precautions are not effective, is why genital herpes is the most common sexually transmitted disease.
Interestingly the incidence of genital herpes in the general population has remained relatively constant over the past decade – it is neither rising nor declining!
Men and Women
Women are far more likely to have genital herpes than men. Approximately 20 percent of sexually active women are infected compared to just over 10 percent of sexually active men. While the disease is spread by skin contact it seems that women are more likely to be infected by a male partner than vice versa!
Factors Making Genital Herpes So Widespread
When you think of how many people have herpes even though awareness is so high there are a number of contributing factors:
- About 90 percent of people who have the disease do not know that they actually have genital herpes
- Even though it is referred to as a sexually transmitted disease no sexual activity is required for transmission
- Even though the virus is dormant most of the time, the disease can be spread any time the virus is active in the body even if no symptoms are presenting themselves
Annual testing is recommended for anybody who is sexually active. Simple blood tests will not always detect the virus because these rely on identifying antibodies in the blood.
If a person is infected and has not had an outbreak the virus may be completely dormant. In those cases the immune system will not have developed any antibodies to fight the active component of the virus.
There is no vaccine despite how many people have herpes. Anti viral drugs can help to minimize symptoms or even eliminate outbreaks. These work by attacking the active virus.
There are some Natural Treatments for Genital Herpes which work to modify your metabolism so that it is inhospitable to the virus and tends to make the virus remain permanently dormant!