Today we’re starting a unit on a very common STI, genital herpes. Let’s begin with some preliminary facts about this virus:
—Genital herpes is cause by the herpes simplex viruses type 1 (HSV-1) or type 2 (HSV-2).
—Most genital herpes is caused by HSV-2.
—Most individuals have no or only minimal signs or symptoms from HSV-1 or HSV-2 infection.
—The infection, since it is caused by a virus, stays in the body indefinitely. This means once you contract herpes, you will always have it. Outbreaks can be controlled and prevented, which we’ll talk about over the next few sessions.
—Nationwide, 16.2%, or about one out of six, people 14 to 49 years of age have genital HSV-2 infection. Over the past decade, the percentage of Americans with genital herpes infection in the U.S. has remained stable.
—Genital HSV-2 infection is more common in women (approximately one out of five women 14 to 49 years of age) than in men (about one out of nine men 14 to 49 years of age).