According to the World Health Organisation, two-thirds of the world’s population under 50 have the highly infectious herpes virus that causes cold sores around the mouth.
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That’s around 4 billion people under the age of 50 who have the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), usually after catching in in childhood.
That’s in addition to 417 million people in the 17 — 49 age range who have the other form of herpes, HSV-2, which causes genital warts (HSV-1 normally causes mouth ulcers rather than genital infection, though newer cases show an increased rate of genital infection too). Not good.
Improved hygiene in rich countries is lowering HSV-1 infection rates in childhood, but it doesn’t make a difference really because young people will probably catch it via oral sex when they become sexually active.
Sami Gottlieb, a WHO medical officer, said:
We really need to accelerate the development of vaccines against herpes simplex virus, and if a vaccine designed to prevent HSV-2 infection also prevented HSV-1, it would have far reaching benefits.
Several phase-1 and phase-2 trials were underway.
So yeah, that’s pretty gross. 4 BILLION people under the age of 50 with herpes. It may as well be everyone – take away babies and over-50s and you’re basically saying everyone in the world has herpes. I’ve never had any symptoms myself but now I’m convinced I’ve got it because some people won’t ever show symptoms but still carry the virus. Great.
If you’re certain you’re HPV-free, might be an idea to cut your losses right now and do what this guy did.