Health Female Adda
1 year ago
There’s a Very Good Chance You Have Herpes

Raise your hand if you know someone who has herpes. Yup, thought so.

And for the first time ever, scientists have given an official estimate of just how many people around the globe are afflicted with this super-common STD. On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a report published in the journal PLoS One stating that a whopping two-thirds of the world's population under 50 (we're talking 3.7 billion people here) have the herpes simplex one virus (HSV-1). 

HSV-1 is transmitted orally (think: by kissing or sharing utensils), and although it most often causes cold sores around the mouth, it can be a cause of genital herpes, too (it can be transmitted from mouth to genitals during oral sex). But most cases of genital herpes are caused by the HSV-2 virus. Still, there's no cure for either form of the STD—the painful bumps come back whenever your immune system's been compromised in some way. 

RELATED: I Tested Positive for Herpes—Now What?

Previously, the WHO had looked at estimates of how many people have HSV-2, so this time they decided to look into how many people have HSV-1. They analyzed data from 2012 and found that in the Americas (North and South America), 178 million women and 142 million men had oral herpes that year. 

And while this report didn't specify how many people in the U.S. have HSV-1 specifically, according to the American Sexual Health Association, more than 50 percent of American adults have oral herpes. Yikes. The reason so many people have HSV-1 is because they're actually infected during childhood, often when they've come into close contact with a family member who has the disease. 

So what can you do to protect yourself? People can shed the virus through their skin even if they don't have a blister—so remember: Always, always use protection during oral sex, don't share things like drinks with friends, and wash your hands frequently since you never know when you'll come into contact with someone who's infected. 

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