You may be one of the 3.7 billion people contaminated with herpes, WHO report states. And the World Health Organization also found that two-third of people affected by the highly infectious virus contacted the bug in their childhood.
The report, which was published Oct. 28, estimates that in South and North America about 320 million people are infected with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), of which 178 million are women and 132 million are men.
Moreover, about 417 million people have the herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) also known as the genital herpes, which is a highly infectious sexually transmitted disease (STD). Most people diagnosed with herpes are under the age of 50, the report shows.
HSV-1 usually leads to mouth ulcers but it can also be located in the genital areas. HSV-2 ’s common symptoms are painful blisters, fever, burning and itching sensation, soreness, flue-like symptoms and urinating problems.
HSV-2 is also a major risk factor in the spread of HIV/ADS and other diseases.
Researchers at the US National Library of Medicine found that that while some patients experience none of the above mentioned symptoms, other perceive the area where the virus penetrated the skin as very painful. The virus triggers itchy blisters that eventually heal, but the virus remains within the body.
Researchers also mentioned that an average person has outbreaks several times a year soon after the infection. But in time, the outbreaks become rarer.
Sami Gottlieb, co-author of the WHO report, explained that the data suggests medical research should hurry in finding a vaccine against herpes simplex virus. And, the best vaccine would imply a double-punch approach – it should kill off HSV-2 and also prevent HSV-1.
WHO researchers reported that people living in emerging economies are more likely to contract the infection compared with those in the Western world such as the U.S.A. and Europe. Moreover, while children in the Western world are less exposed to the virus, adults have a higher chance of contracting the disease if they engage in oral sex.
The WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research believes that access to information on the two types of viruses and other sexually transmitted disease could protect young people against the diseases before they start their sex life.
Plus, testing is often crucial since herpes sometimes goes unnoticed. For instance, a study revealed that people affected by the virus that causes genital herpes are unaware they have it. So, they continue to spread it to their sex partners.
Image Source: Flickr
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