Herpes Statistics

Jan 28, 2012 No Comments by

Herpes simplex type 1 and 2 are viral infections. HSV-1 is commonly called oral herpes and HSV-2 is referred to as genital herpes. Neither of these diseases have a cure, but only treatment options.

The statistics and facts are broken out between the two types of herpes.

What is Oral Herpes?

Oral herpes is indicated by the appearance of cold sores or fever blisters around the mouth. There is a type of HSV-1 that is called oral-facial herpes where the blisters and cold sores are located on the chin, cheek, or on and in the nose.

This viral infection can be easily passed to another person with a casual kiss when an infected person has a sore, and even when there are no visible signs of the disease. Besides the visible symptoms, a person with HSV-1 can have headaches, muscle aches, swollen glands in the throat, and other flu-like symptoms. Many people with this disease don’t know they have it. The sores can be mistaken for pimples, razor burn, an ingrown hair, or even a small cut at the side of the mouth.

If a person who is infected with oral herpes engages in oral sex, then the partner can get oral herpes on their genitals.

Oral Herpes Statistics

Depending on the study or estimates it is believed that between 50 and 80 percent of the United States adult population has oral herpes. Projections estimate that a full 90 percent of those living in the US will contract oral herpes before they turn fifty years of age. Unfortunately this disease isn’t limited to adults as many will contract this disease during childhood. It is possible to contract oral herpes by a quick, casual kiss from an infected relative or other individual.

Only fifty percent of those who get oral herpes will have a recurring outbreak.

What is Genital Herpes?

Genital herpes is a highly contagious viral infection. It is important to note that a many of those infected with this disease don’t know they have genital herpes. The physical symptoms of HSV-2 can include blisters and sores on the genitals, buttocks, or anal area of the body. HSV-2 will cycle through resting periods and active outbreaks. Other symptoms associated with genital herpes include headaches, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes in the groin, fever, and burning or pain on urination.

Genital Herpes Statistics

To begin with it is estimated that between 30 and 45 million people in the United States have genital herpes. This means that one of five American adults and adolescents have the disease. HSV-2 is more common in women as it is easier for the male to pass on the disease to his partner than it is for the female to give the disease to a man.

The statistics for genital herpes in women are one of four, for men it is about one in five.

Other statistics for genital herpes include:

  • The statistical evidence reflects that as many as 80 to 90 percent of those who have genital herpes have never had their condition diagnosed. Some of these people may realize they have the disease, while a great many don’t know they do.
  • Throughout the world blacks make up 45.9% of the total genital herpes cases and whites make up 17.6% of the total genital herpes cases. While the instance of genital herpes in the United States is about 20% of the population, in Africa it is as much as 80% of the population.
  • The segment of the population with the most dramatic increase in genital herpes is young white teens. Twelve to nineteen-year-old whites are five times more likely to have genital herpes today than they were twenty years ago. Young white adults from twenty to twenty-nine have doubled their instances of genital herpes over twenty years ago.
  • Each year there are about one million new cases of herpes throughout the world, in the United States there are about 500,000 new cases each year.
  • From twenty percent to twenty-five percent of pregnant women have genital herpes.
  • About eighty percent of those having their first episode of genital herpes will have at least one recurring outbreak. For those infected with genital herpes that have recurring outbreaks, the average number of yearly outbreaks is four or five.
  • Clinical trials done on an antiviral therapy called Valaciclovir have shown this drug to prevent or delay as much as 85% of genital herpes outbreaks.
  • The cervix in women is typically infected from eighty to ninety percent of the time in an initial genital herpes infection. These infections are often accompanied with vaginal discharge.
  • Somewhere in the world another person gets genital herpes every thirty seconds.
  • The number of genital herpes cases has increased thirty percent in the last decade.

For more information on herpes from the CDC or Center for Disease Control and Prevention, see here.


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