Worldwide, 1 in 6 has genital herpes, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The numbers may surprise you. A recent study from the World Health Organization, based on 2003 data, estimates that 536 million people worldwide aged 15-49 years are infected with HSV-2, or genital herpes. This represents about 16% of the population in this age range. What may be even more surprising is that more women are affected than men.
Herpes is difficult to contain for the simple reason that many people are unaware that they have the disease, and can spread the disease unknowingly among their sexual contacts. Once a person is infected with the virus, it can’t be cured. Herpes has been referred to as “the gift that keeps on giving”, as it can periodically become symptomatic throughout a person’s lifetime.
One of the most serious potential consequences of the illness is the possibility of disease transmission to infants born to mothers infected with herpes. Herpes infection among infants can cause serious illness, and possibly death if untreated. As well, people who suffer from frequent outbreaks of herpes lesions can experience significant pain as well as psychological distress as a result.
Herpes can be prevented by using condoms during sexual intercourse and avoiding intercourse during outbreaks of the disease. People who are infected with herpes may feel embarrassed by their condition; however, the best defense is a good offence, and this may be even more important when trying to protect against the spread of herpes.
· Video: Understanding Herpes from Sex Health Guru
· Herpes Fact Sheet from the Centers for Disease Control