Herpes infections have declined in the United States in recent years, according to a new report. However, about half of teens and adults under age 50 are still infected with the oral herpes virus, and about 1 in 8 have an infection with the genital herpes virus.

The new report, published today (Feb. 7) by the National Center for Health Statistics of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), analyzed information from people in the U.S. ages 14 to 49 who had been screened for herpes in 2015 and 2016, as part of a national survey. The screening involved a blood test that looked for antibodies against two types of herpes viruses: herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), which most commonly causes oral herpes (cold sores), and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), which causes genital herpes.

The results showed that, overall, about 48 percent of people in this age group had HVS-1, and about 12 percent had HSV-2. Infections were more common among older age groups — for example, 60 percent of people ages 40 to 49 had HVS-1, and 21 percent had HVS-2, while 27 percent of people ages 14 to 19 had HVS-1, and 0.8 percent had HVS-2, the report said.

The study also found that the rates of both infections decreased over the period from 1999-2000 to 2015-2016. During this 16-year period, HSV-1 infection rates dropped by 11 percentage points, and HSV-2 infection rates dropped by 6 percentage points, the report said.

The decrease in HVS-1 and HSV-2 infections is good news, said lead author Geraldine McQuillan, an infectious-disease epidemiologist at the CDC.

“Once an individual is infected with HSV, they remain infected for life,” McQuillan told Live Science. “Therefore, the only way we would see a decrease in our estimates is if there was a decrease in new infections.”

The new report cannot determine the precise reason for this decline, however, the researchers said. An upcoming study, set to be published later this year, looks at risk factors for herpes, and that study will be better able to investigate the reason for the decline, McQuillan said.

But several previous studies have found declines in HVS-1 infections in other industrialized countries. In those studies, researchers attributed the decline in HSV-1 to improved living conditions, better hygiene and less crowding, McQuillan said. HSV-1 is a highly contagious virus that is often contracted in childhood; it spreads through contact with the saliva or skin of an infected person, or by touching objects handled by an infected person, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

For HSV-2, “other studies that have seen a decline in HSV-2 in their populations have suggested that the increase in safe-sex practices in the post-AIDS-pandemic may contribute to the decline in this virus, which is sexually transmitted,” McQuillan said. (Previously, researchers documented a 19 percent drop in HSV-2 infections among Americans ages 14 to 49 from 1988 to 2004.)

Although herpes infections are lifelong, people with infections may not always have symptoms, because the virus can remain “dormant” for long periods, with symptoms flaring up from time to time, according to the National Institutes of Health. Symptoms of herpes infection can include sores in the mouth (for HSV-1) or genitals (for HSV-2). These sores can turn into blisters that become itchy and painful before healing, the NIH says.

Original article on Live Science.


Genital Herpes – CDC Fact Sheet

Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) that any sexually active person can get. Most people with the virus don’t have symptoms. Even without signs of the disease, herpes can still be spread to sex partners.

Basic Fact Sheet | Detailed Version

Basic fact sheets are presented in plain language for individuals with general questions about sexually transmitted diseases. The content here can be .

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What is genital herpes?

Genital herpes is an STD caused by two types of viruses. The viruses are called herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2).

What is oral herpes?

Oral herpes is usually caused by HSV-1 and can result in cold sores or fever blisters on or around the mouth. However, most people do not have any symptoms. Most people with oral herpes were infected during childhood or young adulthood from non-sexual contact with saliva.

Is there a link between genital herpes and oral herpes?

Oral herpes caused by HSV-1 can be spread from the mouth to the genitals through oral sex. This is why some cases of genital herpes are caused by HSV-1.

How common is genital herpes?

Genital herpes is common in the United States. More than one out of every six people aged 14 to 49 years have genital herpes.

How is genital herpes spread?

You can get genital herpes by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the disease.

If you do not have herpes, you can get infected if you come into contact with the herpes virus in:

  • A herpes sore;
  • Saliva (if your partner has an oral herpes infection) or genital secretions (if your partner has a genital herpes infection);
  • Skin in the oral area if your partner has an oral herpes infection, or skin in the genital area if your partner has a genital herpes infection.

You can get herpes from a sex partner who does not have a visible sore or who may not know he or she is infected. It is also possible to get genital herpes if you receive oral sex from a sex partner who has oral herpes.

You will not get herpes from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools, or from touching objects around you such as silverware, soap, or towels. If you have additional questions about how herpes is spread, consider discussing your concerns with a healthcare provider.

How can I reduce my risk of getting genital herpes?

The only way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting genital herpes:

  • Be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who is not infected with an STD (e.g., a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results);
  • Using latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.

Be aware that not all herpes sores occur in areas that are covered by a latex condom. Also, herpes virus can be released (shed) from areas of the skin that do not have a visible herpes sore. For these reasons, condoms may not fully protect you from getting herpes.

If you are in a relationship with a person known to have genital herpes, you can lower your risk of getting genital herpes if:

  • Your partner takes an anti-herpes medication every day. This is something your partner should discuss with his or her doctor.
  • You avoid having vaginal, anal, or oral sex when your partner has herpes symptoms (i.e., when your partner is having an outbreak).

I’m pregnant. How could genital herpes affect my baby?

If you are pregnant and have genital herpes, it is very important for you to go to prenatal care visits. Tell your doctor if you have ever had symptoms of, or have been diagnosed with, genital herpes. Also tell your doctor if you have ever been exposed to genital herpes. There is some research that suggests that genital herpes infection may lead to miscarriage, or could make it more likely for you to deliver your baby too early.

Herpes infection can be passed from you to your unborn child before birth but is more commonly passed to your infant during delivery. This can lead to a potentially deadly infection in your baby (called neonatal herpes). It is important that you avoid getting herpes during pregnancy. If you are pregnant and have genital herpes, you may be offered anti-herpes medicine towards the end of your pregnancy. This medicine may reduce your risk of having signs or symptoms of genital herpes at the time of delivery. At the time of delivery, your doctor should carefully examine you for herpes sores. If you have herpes symptoms at delivery, a ‘C-section’ is usually performed.

How do I know if I have genital herpes?

Most people who have genital herpes have no symptoms, or have very mild symptoms. You may not notice mild symptoms or you may mistake them for another skin condition, such as a pimple or ingrown hair. Because of this, most people who have herpes do not know it.

Herpes sores usually appear as one or more blisters on or around the genitals, rectum or mouth. The blisters break and leave painful sores that may take a week or more to heal. These symptoms are sometimes called “having an outbreak.” The first time someone has an outbreak they may also have flu-like symptoms such as fever, body aches, or swollen glands.

People who experience an initial outbreak of herpes can have repeated outbreaks, especially if they are infected with HSV-2. Repeat outbreaks are usually shorter and less severe than the first outbreak. Although the infection stays in the body for the rest of your life, the number of outbreaks may decrease over time.

You should be examined by your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms or if your partner has an STD or symptoms of an STD. STD symptoms can include an unusual sore, a smelly genital discharge, burning when urinating, or (for women) bleeding between periods.

How will my doctor know if I have herpes?

Your healthcare provider may diagnose genital herpes by simply looking at your symptoms. Providers can also take a sample from the sore(s) and test it. In certain situations, a blood test may be used to look for herpes antibodies. Have an honest and open talk with your health care provider and ask whether you should be tested for herpes or other STDs.

Please note: A herpes blood test can help determine if you have herpes infection. It cannot tell you who gave you the infection or how long you have been infected.

Can herpes be cured?

There is no cure for herpes. However, there are medicines that can prevent or shorten outbreaks. One of these anti-herpes medicines can be taken daily, and makes it less likely that you will pass the infection on to your sex partner(s).

What happens if I don’t get treated?

Genital herpes can cause painful genital sores and can be severe in people with suppressed immune systems.

If you touch your sores or the fluids from the sores, you may transfer herpes to another part of your body, such as your eyes. Do not touch the sores or fluids to avoid spreading herpes to another part of your body. If you do touch the sores or fluids, immediately wash your hands thoroughly to help avoid spreading your infection.

If you are pregnant, there can be problems for you and your developing fetus, or newborn baby. See “I’m pregnant. How could genital herpes affect my baby?” above for information about this.

Can I still have sex if I have herpes?

If you have herpes, you should talk to your sex partner(s) and let him or her know that you do and the risk involved. Using condoms may help lower this risk but it will not get rid of the risk completely. Having sores or other symptoms of herpes can increase your risk of spreading the disease. Even if you do not have any symptoms, you can still infect your sex partners.

You may have concerns about how genital herpes will impact your overall health, sex life, and relationships. It is best for you to talk to a health care provider about those concerns, but it also is important to recognize that while herpes is not curable, it can be managed with medication. Daily suppressive therapy (i.e., daily use of antiviral medication) for herpes can also lower your risk of spreading genital herpes to your sex partner. Be sure to discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider. Since a genital herpes diagnosis may affect how you will feel about current or future sexual relationships, it is important to understand how to talk to sexual partners about STDsexternal icon.

What is the link between genital herpes and HIV?

Herpes infection can cause sores or breaks in the skin or lining of the mouth, vagina, and rectum. This provides a way for HIV to enter the body. Even without visible sores, having genital herpes increases the number of CD4 cells (the cells that HIV targets for entry into the body) found in the lining of the genitals. When a person has both HIV and genital herpes, the chances are higher that HIV will be spread to an HIV-uninfected sex partner during sexual contact with their partner’s mouth, vagina, or rectum.

Where can I get more information?

STD information and referrals to STD Clinics
1-800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636)
TTY: 1-888-232-6348
In English, en Español


CDC National Prevention Information Network (NPIN)
P.O. Box 6003
Rockville, MD 20849-6003
E-mail: [email protected]

American Sexual Health Association (ASHA)external icon
P. O. Box 13827
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-3827

Related Content

  • STDs during Pregnancy

Two-Thirds of the World’s Population Has Type 1 Herpes

Corbis Images

“Almost everyone has herpes” is a phrase you’ve probably heard once or twice. But how true is that really? We finally have some hard numbers on those unsightly cold sores: More than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50- that’s 67 percent of the world’s population-are infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) first global estimates, published this week in the journal PLOS ONE.

Quick high school health class refresh: The herpes virus is categorized into two types, herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). Both types are highly infectious and incurable, but HSV-1 is primarily transmitted by oral-oral contact and in most cases causes “orolabial herpes”-AKA cold sores-around the mouth. The majority of HSV-1 infections occur during childhood and are never cleared. (Here’s how to tell: Is That a Herpes Cold Sore-or Just a Zit?)

On the other hand, HSV-2 is almost entirely sexually transmitted through skin-to-skin contact and causes genital herpes. However, as the report notes, HSV-1 does have the potential to be transmitted through oral sex and can also cause genital infections. In fact, in developed countries (like the U.S., Western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand), genital herpes due to HSV-1 has increased particularly among young people, in part due to a rise in the frequency of oral sex, the WHO explains. (Here’s How to Talk to Your Partner About Your STI Status-without making it a huge deal.)

Also of note: Women are more likely to acquire genital herpes than men (whether it’s caused by HSV-1 or HSV-2), the WHO says. Not to mention, “women have more painful outbreaks than men do,” says H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D., a professor emeritus at the University of Washington Center for AIDS and STD. (Find out more on that and other Dangerous Sleeper STDs.)

Although the prevalence of HSV-1 varies widely by region (its highest in Africa, South-East Asia and Western Pacific), the overall message of the report is simple: The global burden of HSV-1 infection is huge. The WHO hopes “these estimates will be used to develop appropriate prevention messages, manage and counsel patients with symptomatic genital herpes, develop improved treatment regimens and diagnostic tests, and ultimately, develop HSV vaccines.”

  • By Kylie Gilbert @KylieMGilbert

Hottest Celebrities With Herpes & STDs

Pamela Anderson Herpes

One of the most famous, glamorous, nude models, Pamela Anderson, who has been a cover page celeb for multiple times, also suffered Herpes! Yeah nudity comes with a price Pam.


The Beckham’s Herpes

Both spouses, David Beckham & his wife Victoria Beckham, have been a part of Hollywood Celeb list infected with Herpes with a question mark of the source of infecting them, hmmm, let me just think about that.


Robin Williams Herpes

Robin William Herpes is also most discussed topic now a days. A famous comedian, Robin Williams, loved equally all over the world is increasing the length of the list containing the names of Hollywood celebrities with Herpes.

People came to know about his infection during an out-of-court settled trial by his ex-girlfriend, probably a cocktail waitress, who claimed to be infected by herpes as they had an intimate relationship before Robin announced his marriage. This story was published by The New York Times.


Janet Jackson Herpes

A distinctive Hollywood fashion trendier, film producer and songwriter of the industry has been infected with Herpes’ virus. This breaking news went on air through her chef who was disoriented as Herpes’ patient by Janet Jackson.


Michael Vick Herpes

Like Robin Williams, Michael Vick, a patient of STD Herpes, had to go for settling an out-of-court settlement by his ex-girlfriend for infecting her with STD virus.


Lindsay Lohan Herpes

And the party never starts till I walk in? This party girl a vibrant star, a multi-faceted and glamorous actress involved in singing as well, is also one of those celebs with STDs. None is sure about the source as she had relationships with many of her male colleagues.


Liza Minnelli Herpes

A very popular personality having fame from The Original Arthur, Cabaret, and The Muppets take Manhattan – Liza Minnelli – is one of the famous celebs of Hollywood Industry facing STD Herpes. Her infectious status was claimed by her ex-husband, David Gest in court documents.


Tommy Lee Herpes

Tommy Lee, a boyfriend of Pamela Anderson, a musician, and a foundation member of Motley Crue, was presumably a victim of Hepatitis C. It is an open secret that Tommy Lee is source of transmitting STD Herpes to the pretty profile!


Trey Songz STDs

Trey Songz (the official name – Tremaine Aldon Neverson), is an American R&B, record producer, hip hop record artist, actor, and rapper. He confessed to having crabs when he was a teenager. Moreover, he shaved all his hair down to get rid of them. This made him infected with STD.


Billy Idol Herpes

A well-known musician, singer and songwriter who is over 60, Billy Idol, admitted in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine to be a patient of STD and claimed it was the worst experience.


Magic Johnson STDs

A very popular American basketball player, Magic Johnson, has been a victim of HIV since long, but he is struggling yet against it. This virus enforced him for early retirement and turned his life as a good business man.

He confessed that he was victimized from HIV through his multiple s****l relationships he had throughout his basketball career.


Julia Sweeney Herpes

Julia Sweeney, a very popular American SNL star, infected with HPV – a DNA virus from Papillomavirus – capable of infecting humans and leading to cervical cancer. None can sure about the source of this STD to infect Julia Sweeney.


Greg Louganis Herpes

Greg Louganis, an American Olympic diver, athlete of the year from World of Sports and only sweeper of the consecutive Olympic games.

The homosexual Greg Louganis tested in 1988, as positive for HIV due to abusive relationships, depression, lifestyle of a drinker and smoker at very young age. He worked a lot for Human Rights Campaign to defend civil liberties of LGBT community to aware people about HIV.


Tommy Morrison Herpes

The Duke – Tommy David Morrison – an American professional boxer with WBO heavyweight title. He was tested positive for AIDS in 1996. Till then, he had won 93 % of his fights.

He was a very outrageous fighter fought against HIV and tried to come back in 2006. His mother announced his HIV positive report in 2013 that was confirmed by his death.


David Hassel Hoff Herpes

When living on the edge without a rubber was probably the lifestyle for David, his wife Pamela Bach could not bear it much in 2006, as she claimed at the time of her divorce the genital herpes (STI) of David even before the marriage of the two in 1986. Way to go Baywatch!

The number of celebrities indulged in STD infection and its transmission, is increasing due to dating, flirting as well as negative relationships with colleagues. Well this can also be a reason not taking precautions measures. Most of the celebs feel ashamed of STD’s infection and spend their lives hiding it.

STD infected people must ensure safer s****l relationships and in order to encounter this virus, a correct and consistent protection must be used. While having any s****l relationship, STD carriers must ensure their partners about their diseases that can be risky and dangerous for the partner as well.

Hollywood and Herpes

Herpes rumors are swirling around Hollywood. Anne Heche revealed details in her autobiography of her tragic childhood where she was raped by her homosexual dad from infancy to age 12, and contracted the herpes simplex virus when she was a tender 8-year-old. She’s faced with the memory daily because herpes is incurable and can only be treated with ant-viral medications like Valtrex and Zovirax.

Even in times when there aren’t any episodes, outbreaks or flare-ups, carriers of the virus must always practice safe sex, even during oral sex, since it can be transmitted from the mouth to the genitals. Condoms must be used consistently and correctly for all sexual encounters, but is not 100 percent foolproof. Imagine having to explain to a potential partner that you have the disease and then sharing the dreadful risks before intimacy — not exactly foreplay.

Now, there are those cases when the celebrities deem to keep their private business private and have either been outed by media or through have association have been labeled a carrier of herpes (simplex), which is medically defined as any inflammatory skin disease marked by the formation of small vesicles in clusters – usually cold sores around the mouth. Genital herpes is the herpes simplex two virus, primarily transmitted sexually via genital secretion and involving the genital region; in women, the vesicular stage may give rise to confluent, painful ulcerations and may be accompanied by neurologic symptoms.

Here is a list of celebrities who have come forward, been outed and/or linked to genital herpes. –yvette caslin

Yvette Caslin

I’m a writer, image architect & significance marketer. Love photojournalism, creative expression & originality.

Hottest Celebrities Who Have Infected With Herpes

The following post 30 Famous Celebrities With Herpes was originally published on: http://ift.tt/1Qk93Iz

Throughout the years, many celebrities have opened up about their health issues; and this article will make you think twice before having a relationship with just anyone because even celebrities can’t be so flawless after all who have infected with herpes.

While there are countless of stars who have battled cancer or other different illness there are some who are brave enough to discuss and open up about their disease that are considered embarrassing such as herpes and other related STD diseases.

Herpes is caused by two types of viruses. The viruses are called herpes simplex type 1(commonly known as Cold sores ) and herpes simplex type 2 ( genital herpes). It may come as surprise to others that some of the top and popular celebrities they follow on twitter or instagram is infected with this disease, so let’s review the list of celebrities who have been infected with herpes and whom they get the infection.

1. Tony Bennett an American singer of traditional pop standards, big band, show tunes, and jazz was born on August 3, 1926. Bennett was sued by a woman for transmitting the virus to her in 1986. Linda Feldman claims that he said this to her after she found out that she was infected, “I’ve had it for years. You get used to it. It’s God’s way of giving your sex life a rest.” Tony didn’t resort to out of court settlement rather he completely denied the charges against him and sued the lady back on the charges of defamation.

2. Derek Jeter a famous baseball player, actor and athlete was born on June 26, 1974. Just like how the solar system works and how the planets orbit the sun, Jeter was the sun when it comes to Hollywood herpes epidemic. He was considered as a big source of herpes transmission to his celebrity girlfriends like Jessica Biel, Jessica Alba, Vanessa Minnillo, Mariah Carey and Scarlett Johansson.

3. Robin Williams was an American stand-up comedian, actor, director, producer, writer, singer and voice artist who was born on July 21, 1951 and passed away in August 11, 2014. Williams was sued by a cocktail waitress while his fame was on the rise in the 1980’s. The waitress claimed that she was infected with genital herpes when they had an extramarital affair during Williams first marriage. Of course the case was settled out of court, so you can pretty much take a good guess on who won.

4. David Hasselhoff an American actor, singer, producer, and businessman considered to be the punchline of modern generation who was born on July 17 1952. After 16 years of marriage, David’s ex wife Pamela Bach claimed at the time of her divorce the genital herpes (STI) of David even before the marriage of the two in 1986. Pamela added “David… you’re still pretty cool, we’ll try and forget the virus you contracted.”

5. Michael Vick an American football quarterback who is a free agent born on June 26, 1980. Just like Robin Williams, Vick was also sued by his ex-girlfriend for infecting her with Herpes. This sports personality also resorted to an out of court settlement.

6. Paris Hilton an American businesswoman, socialite, television personality, model, actress, singer, DJ, and author who was born on February 17, 1981. The rumor that Hilton was infected with Genital Herpes came from a locker which she was not able to visit and pay in a while. People who bought the locker said that they found a record/prescription with her name for a drug called Valtrex which is used to treat outbreaks of genital herpes.

7. Britney Spears an American singer, dancer and actress was born on December 2, 1981. Spears was documented to buying Zovirax in Kentwood for herpes.

8. Kim Kardashian an American reality television personality, actress, socialite, businesswoman and model was born on October 21, 1980. Kim was photographed once with what appears to be Herpes cold sore on her upper lip. This is believed to be the first time Kim has been spotted with such an ugly sore. It was suspected that she was infected by her ex-husband, Kris Humphries who was sued for allegedly passing herpes on to an unsuspecting fling.

9. Jessica Biel an American actress who was born on March 3, 1982 was contracted by Derek Jeter. The same person who infected Jessica Alba and Scarlett Johansson.

10. Alyssa Milano an American actress, producer and former singer who was born on December 19, 1972. Milano is known to have dated baseball players. Brad Penny, Barry Zito, Carl Pavano and Tom Glavine, however rumored to have contracted the disease from Derek Jeter who may be called a herpes distribution centre after all these cases.

11. Joshua Jackson a Canadian-American actor born on June 11, 1978 was a victim of the virus and suspected to have transmitted the disease to 2 women. One was her ex-girlfriend and the other was Katie Holmes.

12. Scarlett Johansson an American actress, model, and singer was born on November 22, 1984. Johansson is said to have contracted herpes from Derek Jester which was considered to be the big source of herpes transmission to his celebrity girlfriends. It was reported that Johansson recovered from the disease.

13. Brad Pitt an American actor and producer was born on December 18, 1963. Brad Pitt is rumored to have had herpes since before he was married to Jennifer Aniston.

14. Michael Jackson an American singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and actor who was born on August 29, 1958 and passed away last June 25, 2009 known to be the King of Pop. Rumored to have herpes and was sued by Shellie Smith who claims that she was infected with Herpes by Jackson when they had a sexual relationship back in 70’s.

15. Justin Timberlake an American singer, songwriter, actor and record producer was born on January 31, 1981. Timberlake has dated several women who are suspected to have Genital Herpes. Since his wife Jessica Biel has the virus it is suspected that JT is prone to contracting the virus.

16. Kate Moss an English model was born on January 16, 1974. Moss is rumored to have been using drugs for quite a while whereas reports of her being infected with herpes are almost confirmed. It is not actually clear from whom did she catch the virus.

17. Orlando Bloom an English actor was born on January 13, 1977. Reported to have Herpes which he got from Vanessa Minnillo who got it from the famous Derek Jeter.

18. Jessica Alba an American actress, model and businesswoman who was born on April 28, 1981. At the age of 33, Jessica was infected with genital herpes from her ex-boyfriend Derek Jeter. The news comes from one of Alba’s former assistants who was regularly spotted at the pharmacy refilling her prescription for Valtrex.

19. Rihanna is a Barbadian singer and songwriter who was born on February 20, 1988. She and her ex-boyfriend, Chris Brown, have both been photographed together having scars on their lips which were visibly a result of the Herpes infection.

20. Janet Jackson an American singer, songwriter, dancer and actress who was born on May 16, 1966. Jackson was embarrassed by contracting herpes which made her get prescriptions for her medication under her chef’s name. When her chef found out; he sued her.

21. Colin Farrell an Irish actor born on May 31, 1976. Though it is unknown when and from whom did Farrell get the virus, he is actually suffering from it.

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22. Victoria Beckham an English businesswoman, fashion designer, model, and singer born on April 17, 1974. Both Victoria and his husband David is suffering from Herpes however it is unknown who brought the virus to their lives.

23. Chris Brown an American singer, songwriter, dancer, and actor was born on May 5, 1989. Brown and his ex-girlfriend, Rihanna, have both been photographed having herpes infection on their lips.

24. Fred Durst an American musician and film director born on August 20, 1970 has been a victim of the virus for quite a time. Nothing has been revealed about the transmitting person.

25. Mariah Carey an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress was born on March 27, 1969. Another rumored woman who was a victim of the virus from Derek Jeter.

26. Pamela Anderson a Canadian-American actress who was born on July 1, 1967. Anderson got the disease from ex-husband Tommy Lee. She also suffers from Hepatitis C and is making progress in her battle with it.

27. Katie Holmes an American actress, model, and filmmaker who was born on December 18, 1978. Katie was photographed with a gigantic cold sore on her mouth for numerous times and is allegedly suffering from herpes for many years.

28. David Beckham an English former professional who was born on May 2, 1975. Both David and his wife Victoria is suspected to have Herpes. It was also suspected that David contracted the virus from her wife Victoria Beckham.

29. Anne Heche an American actress who was born on May 25 1969. Her film credits include I Know What You Did Last Summer, John Q and Volcano. Anne wrote in her autobiography that she had been infected with genital herpes since she was infant. She claims that she was raped by her homesexual father from infancy to age 12 and she was infected at the age of 8.

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Prevalence of Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 and Type 2 in Persons Aged 14–49: United States, 2015–2016

NCHS Data Brief No. 304, February 2018

PDF Versionpdf icon (406 KB)

Geraldine McQuillan, Ph.D., Deanna Kruszon-Moran, M.S., Elaine W. Flagg, Ph.D., M.S., and Ryne Paulose-Ram, Ph.D., M.A.

Key findings

Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

  • During 2015–2016, prevalence of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) was 47.8%, and prevalence of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) was 11.9%.
  • Prevalence of both HSV-1 and HSV-2 increased with age.
  • Prevalence of both HSV-1 and HSV-2 was higher among females than males.
  • Prevalence of HSV-1 was highest among Mexican-American persons and lowest among non-Hispanic white persons. HSV-2 prevalence was highest among Hispanic black persons and lowest among non-Hispanic Asian persons.
  • Prevalence of both HSV-1 and HSV-2 decreased from 1999–2000 to 2015–2016 (from 59.4% to 48.1%, and from 18.0% to 12.1%, respectively).

Herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2) are common, lifelong infections, which often have no symptoms (1). People with symptoms may have painful blisters or sores at the site of infection (2,3). The viruses are transmitted through contact with an infected person’s lesion, mucosal surface, or genital or oral secretions. This report provides recent national estimates of HSV-1 and HSV-2 antibody prevalence from the 2015–2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) among persons aged 14–49 by age, sex, and race and Hispanic origin, and examines trends in prevalence by race and Hispanic origin from 1999–2000 to 2015–2016.

Keywords: HSV-1, HSV-2, NHANES

Prevalence of HSV-1 during 2015–2016 was highest among Mexican-American persons and lowest among non-Hispanic white persons.

Figure 1. Age-adjusted prevalence of herpes simplex virus type 1 among persons aged 14–49, by age group, sex, and race and Hispanic origin: United States, 2015–2016

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1Linear increase with age group.
2Significantly lower than females.
3Significantly lower than Mexican-American persons.
4Significantly higher than non-Hispanic white persons.
NOTES: Age adjusted by the direct method to the 2000 U.S. Census population, using age groups 14–19, 20–29, 30–39, and 40–49 years. Total population includes all race and Hispanic-origin groups including those not shown separately. Access data table for Figure 1pdf icon.
SOURCE: NCHS, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2015–2016.

Prevalence of HSV-1 decreased over time from 1999–2000 to 2015–2016.

Figure 2. Trends in age-adjusted prevalence of herpes simplex virus type 1 among persons aged 14–49, for the total population and by race and Hispanic origin: United States, 1999–2000 through 2015–2016

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1Significant decreasing linear trend over time, p < 0.05.
NOTES: Age adjusted by the direct method to the 2000 U.S. Census population, using age groups 14–19, 20–29, 30–39, and 40–49 years. Total population includes all race and Hispanic-origin groups including those not shown separately. Data for the Asian subpopulation are only available since 2011, so this subpopulation is not shown separately, but included in the total population. Access data table for Figure 2pdf icon.
SOURCE: NCHS, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2016.

Prevalence of HSV-2 during 2015–2016 was highest among non-Hispanic black persons and lowest among non-Hispanic Asian persons.

Figure 3. Age-adjusted prevalence of herpes simplex virus type 2 among persons aged 14–49, by age group, sex, and race and Hispanic origin: United States, 2015–2016

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1Linear increase with age group.
2Significantly lower than females.
3Significantly lower than non-Hispanic black persons.
4Significantly higher than non-Hispanic Asian persons.
NOTES: Age adjusted by the direct method to the 2000 U.S. Census population, using age groups 14–19, 20–29, 30–39, and 40–49 years. Total population includes all race and Hispanic-origin groups including those not shown separately. Access data table for Figure 3pdf icon.
SOURCE: NCHS, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2015–2016.

Prevalence of HSV-2 decreased over time from 1999–2000 to 2015–2016.

Figure 4. Trends in age-adjusted prevalence of herpes simplex virus type 2 among persons aged 14–49, for the total population and by race and Hispanic origin: United States, 1999–2000 through 2015–2016

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1Significant decreasing linear trend over time, p < 0.05.
NOTES: Age adjusted by the direct method to the 2000 U.S. Census population, using age groups 14–19, 20–29, 30–39, and 40–49 years. Total population includes all race and Hispanic-origin groups including those not shown separately. Data for the Asian subpopulation are only available since 2011, so this subpopulation is not shown separately, but included in the total population. Access data table for Figure 4pdf icon.
SOURCE: NCHS, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999–2016.


During 2015–2016, the prevalence of HSV-1 was 47.8% and of HSV-2 was 11.9% among those aged 14–49. Prevalence of both viruses was higher among females than males and increased linearly with age. Differences by race and Hispanic origin were different for the two viruses, with Mexican-American persons having the highest prevalence of HSV-1 (71.7%) and non-Hispanic black persons having the highest prevalence of HSV-2 (34.6%). Differences by race and Hispanic origin, and the increasing prevalence with increasing age for both HSV-1 and HSV-2, have been reported previously (4,5). The higher prevalence of HSV-2 among females has also been reported (6).

From 1999 through 2016, there was a significant decline in the age-standardized prevalence of HSV-1 and HSV-2. For both virus types, a decrease in prevalence over time was seen in all race and Hispanic-origin subpopulations. Decreasing HSV-1 prevalence has been reported previously (4–7). A nonsignificant decline in overall prevalence of HSV-2 from 1999 through 2010 was reported in a previous study (5).

This report provides the latest estimates of HSV-1 and HSV-2 prevalence in the United States. NHANES does not include populations that may be at higher risk for acquiring HSV-2 (e.g., those incarcerated and the homeless). Therefore, these data may provide conservative estimates of both HSV-1 and HSV-2 in the U.S. population aged 14–49.


HSV-1: Prevalence of antibody to herpes simplex virus type 1 from tested sera.

HSV-2: Prevalence of antibody to herpes simplex virus type 2 from tested sera.

Data source and methods

Data for this report are from NHANES, a cross-sectional survey that uses a complex, multistage, probability design to select a sample of the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S. population. It consists of interviews in participants’ homes, followed by standardized physical examinations that include collection of various biological specimens. In 1999–2016, sera for HSV-1 and HSV-2 antibody testing were available for persons aged 14–49 (see: https://wwwn.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhanes/2013-2014/labmethods/HSV_H_MET_HERPES_1_2.pdfpdf icon). In 2011–2016, non-Hispanic black, non-Hispanic Asian, and Hispanic persons, including Mexican American-persons, were oversampled. Refer to the NHANES website for further details.

Estimates were calculated in SAS-callable SUDAAN software release 11.0 (RTI International, Research Triangle Park, N.C). Examination weights were used to account for differing probabilities of selection, nonresponse, and noncoverage. Taylor series linearization was used to calculate standard errors. Age adjustment was done by the direct method to the 2000 projected Census population using age groups 14–19, 20–29, 30–39, and 40–49. All reported estimates met statistical reliability criteria (relative standard error less than 30% and greater than 10 positive cases). Individual differences between sex and race and Hispanic subgroups, as well as a linear trend with age, were evaluated using orthogonal contrasts to calculate a Student’s t statistic. Linear regression modeling was used to determine significance of linear and quadratic trends with time controlling for age group. Differences were considered significant at p < 0.05.

About the authors

Geraldine McQuillan, Deanna Kruszon-Moran, and Ryne Paulose-Ram are with the National Center for Health Statistics, Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Elaine W. Flagg is with the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Division of STD Prevention.

  1. Tronstein E, Johnston C, Huang ML, Selke S, Magaret A, Warren T, et al. Genital shedding of herpes simplex virus among symptomatic and asymptomatic persons with HSV-2 infection. JAMA 305(14):1441–9. 2011.
  2. Ryder N, Jin F, McNulty AM, Grulich AE, Donovan B. Increasing role of herpes simplex virus type 1 in first-episode anogenital herpes in heterosexual women and younger men who have sex with men, 1992–2006. Sex Transm Infect 85(6):416–9. 2009.
  3. Bernstein DI, Bellamy AR, Hook EW 3rd, Levin MJ, Wald A, Ewell MG, et al. Epidemiology, clinical presentation, and antibody response to primary infection with herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 in young women. Clin Infect Dis 56(3):344–51. 2013.
  4. Xu F, Sternberg MR, Kottiri BJ, McQuillan GM, Lee FK, Nahmias AJ, et al. Trends in herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 seroprevalence in the United States. JAMA 296(8):964–73. 2006.
  5. Bradley H, Markowitz LE, Gibson T, McQuillan GM. Seroprevalence of herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2—United States, 1999–2010. J Infect Dis 209(3):325–33. 2014.
  6. Dickson N, Righarts A, van Roode T, Paul C, Taylor J, Cunningham AL. HSV-2 incidence by sex over four age periods to age 38 in a birth cohort. Sex Transm Infect 90(3):243–5. 2014.
  7. Dukers NH, Bruisten SM, van den Hoek JA, de Wit JB, van Doornum GJ, Coutinho RA. Strong decline in herpes simplex virus antibodies over time among young homosexual men is associated with changing sexual behavior. Am J Epidemiol 152(7):666–73. 2000.

Suggested citation

McQuillan G, Kruszon-Moran D, Flagg EW, Paulose-Ram R. Prevalence of herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 in persons aged 14–49: United States, 2015–2016. NCHS Data Brief, no 304. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2018.

Copyright information

All material appearing in this report is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission; citation as to source, however, is appreciated.

National Center for Health Statistics

Charles J. Rothwell, M.S., M.B.A., Director
Jennifer H. Madans, Ph.D., Associate Director for Science

Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys

Kathryn S. Porter, M.D., M.S., Director
Ryne Paulose-Ram, Ph.D., Associate Director for Science

Genital herpes infection is common in the U.S. Nationwide, over 24 million men and women are infected with HSV-2, the virus that causes genital herpes. 70% of cases are caused by HSV-2. The rest are caused by HSV-1, the herpes virus responsible for cold sores. And there are 776,000 new HSV-2 infections each year. One 1 out of 6 people age 14-49 in et U.S.have genital herpes, although not all have symptoms. In addition, there is an increasing number of cases of genital herpes that are attributed to an HSV-1 infection, the usual cause of cold sores. Along with causing genital herpes, infection with HSV-2 can facilitate infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

HSV-2 infection is more common in women (approximately 1 out of 5 women) than in men (almost 1 out of 9). This may be because male-to-female transmission is more efficient than female-to-male transmission. HSV-2 infection is also more common in blacks (39.2%) than in whites (12.3%). Factors that influence race differences in prevalence of infection include a higher rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in African-American communities and access to quality health care.

Since the late 1990s, the number of Americans with genital herpes infection has remained about the same. Young people between the ages of 15 and 24, however, are the most likely to get a new STD infection. Half of all the new STD infections are in this age group, though they only reflect about 25 percent of the total population.

Herpes, the virus that causes cold sores, is still very common in the U.S., the latest statistics show.

A herpes cold sore.redhumv / Getty Images

But it’s becoming less common, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) finds. That’s good news, since the virus is incurable and can kill newborn infants.

The herpes virus that causes genital herpes is also becoming less common, the center found.

Just under half, 48 percent, of people aged 14 to 49 have herpes simplex 1, HSV-1, commonly known as the cold sore virus. By age 49, nearly 60 percent of people are infected, the NCHS, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found.

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Related: Lawsuit claims woman caught herpes from lipstick

In 2000, more than 59 percent of people over 14 had the virus.

About 12 percent of people aged 14 to 49 have HSV-2, known widely as genital herpes. Only about 7 percent of teenagers are infected, but more than 21 percent of people over 40 are, the survey found.

Both viruses are transmitted by close contact. They thrive in the mucosal membranes — the thin, wet surface found on the lips, inside the mouth and nose, and on the genitals. The virus travels along nerve cells and takes up permanent residence in the body, emerging during times of stress to cause painful blisters.

Related: Herpes migrated along with people

But people can transmit the virus even when they have no sores or other symptoms. And condoms do not provide foolproof protection.

Certain antiviral drugs, including acyclovir and valaciclovir, can control outbreaks but they don’t cure the infection.

“HSV-2 is a lifelong and incurable infection that can cause recurrent and painful genital sores and can make those infected with the virus two-to-three times more likely to acquire HIV, the virus that causes AIDS,” the CDC says on its website about herpes.

People can transmit herpes by kissing and through sex. Some newborn babies in certain Jewish communities have died from herpes infections passed along by ultra-Orthodox practitioners who use their mouths in circumcising infant boys.

Newborns can also catch either virus from their mothers during birth. Taking an antiviral before delivery can reduce that risk.

More than 3.7 billion people under the age of 50 — about 67 percent of the global population — are infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), according to a new report from the World Health Organization.

Herpes simplex virus is categorized into 2 types, both of which are highly infectious and incurable. HSV-1 causes lesions on the lips or around the mouth commonly referred to as cold sores or fever blisters. It’s primarily transmitted by oral-to-oral contact.

“Most people contract the virus when they’re kids,” CBS News medical contributor Dr. Holly Phillips said. “It usually lies dormant in the system. It’s incurable. You never get rid of it but it lies dormant most of the time. Every now and again people have outbreaks and that’s when you can see the blisters.”

Phillips explained that what sparks outbreaks varies from person to person, but there are some known triggers. “For most people, when their immune system is under stress is when you start to see the blisters,” she said. “If they have an illness like the cold or flu — that’s actually how they ended up being called ‘cold sores’ — or if you’re just fatigued. Some people, if they get a lot of sun exposure, they’ll get an outbreak, or women during pregnancy or when they have their menstrual periods. Really anything when your immune system is under attack, these cold sores will come out.”

The other type, herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), is almost entirely sexually transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, causing genital herpes. But the WHO’s findings, which were published Thursday in the journal PLOS ONE, highlight that HSV-1 is also an important cause of genital herpes.

“It’s important to point out that both types of herpes can cause sores in both areas, but the World Health Organization in this report, they did emphasize that there is an increase in the number of genital herpes actually now caused by type 1,” Phillips said.

HSV-2 can lead to more complex health issues, including swelling in the brain and increased risk of spreading HIV.

Experts say the numbers in the new report highlight the need for better education regarding how the virus is spread.

“Access to education and information on both types of herpes and sexually transmitted infections is critical to protect young people’s health before they become sexually active,” Dr. Marleen Temmerman, Director of WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research, said in a statement.

Regardless of where the stigma came from, film and TV no doubt keep it alive. Leah Berkenwald pointed out in an article for Scarleteen that almost every Judd Apatow movie includes a joke about herpes. Living Sphere has a large list of films, TV shows, and books that mention genital herpes, with many of the films and TV shows poking fun at people who have it. Sometimes the jokes directly suggest people with genital herpes are whores or cheaters or they indirectly make the connection, such as the classic Hangover line, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Except for herpes.” The prevalence of these jokes can keep people with genital herpes from opening up.

Jennifer Lemons, a 42-year-old writer and comedian from Richmond, Virginia, isn’t offended when she hears herpes jokes, but says she used to be more sensitive before she got the facts. She’s come to peace with her genital herpes, which she was diagnosed with three years ago, after feeling shame about it. Once she realized how common it was and how you can get it after just one sexual encounter, she began sharing those facts to combat herpes jokes.

“If people had all the info, it wouldn’t be funny anymore,” Lemons said. “You have to figure, if indeed the stat is one in four, and you’re telling a joke at a party where there are 20 people, there are probably a couple people there who are not calling you out, but whose feelings are hurt.”

Lemons approaches her romantic life pragmatically: “If you don’t like it, don’t date me,” she’ll say to guys. Lemons was married and her then-husband considered and researched the condition before agreeing to date her. She never gave it to him, since they used condoms, took medicine, and avoided sexual contact during her outbreaks—which for her usually occur on her back and waistline.

Not every guy Lemons dated has been cool with it, though. She always discloses the condition on the second date, after realizing she likes the guy enough to go out again. One guy Lemons dated said he was okay with her herpes, but it became obvious after the first time they had sex that he was inspecting her genitals and “disguising it as foreplay,” Lemons said.

“I finally asked, ‘Find what you were looking for?’” Lemons said. “I was a little angry and hurt and he was really embarrassed. He did admit that he was looking for signs based on what he’d read on the Internet… It was obvious he wasn’t ready for a sexual relationship with me.”

Others have dealt with their diagnoses much more harshly than Lemons. An entire spectrum of diagnosis responses can be found in a Topix.com forum that was posted in 2009 and still receives comments to this day. The boy who posted it, then 16, was having trouble accepting his diagnosis and was looking for advice. The next five years of responses include people sharing advice and their own stories, as well as people threatening to spread the disease or saying it’s a curse from God for sinful promiscuity. One girl asked, “What’s the point of living?” Many expressed a desire to be loved and accepted and the fear that they’ll never experience those joys again. Some couldn’t accept the permanence of it. One girl waited until marriage to have sex and got it from her husband and another got it after being raped.

A new report by the World Health Organization estimates that two out of three adults under the age of 50 had herpes simplex virus 1 in 2012. That’s 3.7 billion people worldwide who are infected. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to panic.

We used to call them cold sores or fever blisters and dismiss them as unsightly and annoying. But the truth is that little sore in the corner of your uncle’s mouth was always caused by a herpes virus that is easy to spread. So easy, in fact, that a new report by the World Health Organization estimates that two out of three adults under the age of 50 had herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) in 2012. That’s 3.7 billion people worldwide who are infected. Before we panic and start to plan for the herpes apocalypse, though, we should know a few things about this sexually transmitted infection (STI).

It’s a Virus

There are actually eight herpes viruses that can infect humans. Some are associated with known childhood sicknesses like chicken pox and roseola, and others can cause illnesses such as Epstein-Barr, which leads to chronic fatigue and other symptoms. The two herpes viruses talked about the most, however, are HSV-1 and HSV-2, because both are sexually transmitted.

It used to be thought that HSV-1 caused all infections above the waist and HSV-2 was responsible for those below. While it is more common for HSV-1 to infect the mouth and HSV-2 the genitals, we know now that either strain of the virus can cause infection in either place. Herpes is spread when cells from infected skin come in contact with either broken skin (like a cut or a sore) or mucous membranes such as the lips or genitals.

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So Many People Have It

One thing that makes herpes infections so common is that it can be spread whenever the virus is shedding, which can happen when people are not experiencing any symptoms. Though this can make prevention more challenging, people who get multiple outbreaks often come to learn what their skin feels like right before an outbreak and know to avoid contact with others at that point.

As Rewire previously reported, there is a new theory that may explain why so many younger people are becoming infected with herpes. Research suggests that in the past, kids were exposed to the virus during childhood—possibly as a result of kissing relatives who thought nothing of the cold sore they had on their mouth. This exposure allowed their immune systems to build up antibodies that could protect against infection if or when they were exposed again once they became sexually active.

A rising awareness of avoiding contact during outbreaks, coupled with generally more hygienic living situations, means kids do not get exposed at a young age and do not develop antibodies. This leaves their immune systems unprotected when they start having sex. The researchers believe that the lack of antibodies, coupled with an increase in oral sex, is a recipe for more genital herpes infections caused by HSV-1 in the future.

Some Get Symptoms

For many people, infection with herpes is a non-event. They will never experience symptoms and won’t even know they have the virus. Some people might experience mild symptoms, like tiny sores on the skin that they barely notice or mistake for an ingrown hair, pimple, bug bite, or very chapped lips.

Others may get an unmistakable fluid-filled blister or even a cluster of them. Blisters can appear on the lips, inside the mouth, back of the throat, genitals, or rectum. The blisters then break, leaving sores that are painful and may be slow to heal. Flu-like symptoms, such as fever, aches, or swollen glands, can also accompany an initial outbreak.

For some people, the first outbreak is the only outbreak. Others will have recurrences, especially in the first year. These outbreaks are usually not as severe or as long-lasting as the first one. Some people find that they have repeat infections in moments when they are run-down or stressed out. Repeat infections usually stop on their own after about five years.

Though herpes can never be cured, antiviral drugs can help cut down on the frequency, severity, and length of outbreaks.

Herpes Can Be Serious

Outbreaks of herpes can be severe for some people, particularly people with suppressed immune systems due to HIV, AIDS, or other underlying health conditions. Moreover, outbreaks of herpes make becoming infected or infecting a partner with HIV far more likely because of the presence of open sores and blood.

Herpes can also be serious for pregnant women and newborns. Without treatment, active outbreaks can lead to miscarriage or premature birth and, if passed from mother to baby during delivery, it can lead to neonatal herpes, which is potentially deadly for the infant. Women who have a history of herpes should tell their health-care provider, who will continue to examine them for sores during their pregnancy. If any sores are found around the time of delivery, the provider will suggest a c-section to prevent the newborn’s exposure to the virus.

But It’s Not the Apocalypse

The good news is that, as mentioned earlier, for many people infected with herpes, nothing happens. The virus travels down the nerve endings and stays there, causing no damage. And the person may never know they have it.

Moreover, people who do have herpes outbreaks can live long and healthy lives and still have sex without passing the virus to their partners. Current research on HSV-2, for example, suggests that men with genital herpes who are not having an outbreak carry a 10 percent risk of transmitting the virus to their female partner if they have unprotected sex. That risk is cut in half to 5 percent if they use condoms during sex, and cut in half again if the man is taking antiviral medicine. Women have a slightly lower risk of passing it to their male partners—a 4 percent risk from unprotected sex, a 2 percent risk if they use condoms, and a 1 percent risk if they are also using medication. Though data for HSV-1 is not available, it is spread in the same fashion.

By avoiding some sexual contact during outbreaks, using condoms, and taking advantage of antiviral therapy if needed, we can do a lot to prevent the further spread of herpes.

At the same time, by understanding how easily transmissible the virus is and just how many people have it—and encouraging everyone to get testing and any treatment they need—we can do a lot to end the stigma and shame surrounding it.

Topics and Tags:

Children, Contraception, Family, genital herpes, Herpes, herpes vaccine, HIV and AIDS, HSV-2, infection rate, infections, Male condoms, Maternity and Birthing, oral herpes, oral sex, Pregnancy complications, Sexuality education, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Sexually transmitted infections, Sexually Transmitted Infections, World Health Organization

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