WHO: Two-Thirds Of World’s Population Under 50 Years Of Age Has Herpes

October 29, 2015  |  

According to the World Health Organization, you probably have herpes.

In their first estimate of the global prevalence of the disease, the organization explained that more than 3.7 billion adults under the age of 50 suffer from HSV-1, or the herpes simplex virus type 1, usually after catching it in childhood.

While HSV-1 is the strain primarily known for causing cold sores, it can also cause sores on the genitals, the WHO reports.

“The global burden of HSV-1 infection is huge,” the research team wrote. “An estimated 140 million people aged 15-49 years were calculated to have prevalent genital HSV-1 infection globally in 2012.”

Typically, HSV-2 causes genital herpes, but the organization says that HSV-1 is also a culprit in many cases of the sexually transmitted infection.

“The new estimates highlight the crucial need for countries to improve data collection for both HSV types and sexually transmitted infections, in general,” said Dr. Marleen Temmerman, Director of WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research.

As for the Americas, the organization estimates that 49 percent of women and 39 percent of men are carrying HSV-1. In Africa, 87 percent of people have HSV-1 and approximately 60 percent of people in Asia are infected.

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