The World Health Organization (WHO) made headlines earlier this week when it announced that processed and red meats are likely causes of cancer in its consumers. An even more disturbing report has been released by WHO, that might prove scary for the sexually active citizens of the globe. According to research, more than half of the world’s population is carrying the oral herpes, clinically known as the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1).
According to the Huffington Post:
The study, published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE, reports that 3.7 billion people under age 50 carry the type 1 (HSV-1) virus, which is is primarily transmitted through mouth-to-mouth contact and usually manifests as cold sores. That amounts to two-thirds of the world’s population in that age group.
Herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) is nearly always transmitted through skin-to-skin contact and commonly causes genital herpes. WHO notes that the new estimates show that HSV-1 also is a notable cause of genital herpes when transmitted through oral sex.
Most herpes infections are found in Africa. The study breaks down infection rates by global region:
Estimates for HSV-1 prevalence by region among people aged 0-49 in 2012
- Americas: 178 million women (49%), 142 million men (39%)
- Africa: 350 million women (87%), 355 million men (87%)
- Eastern Mediterranean: 188 million women (75%), 202 million men (75%)
- Europe: 207 million women (69%), 187 million men (61%)
- South-East Asia: 432 million women (59%), 458 million men (58%)
- Western Pacific: 488 million women (74%), 521 million men (73%)
Estimates of new HSV-1 infections among people aged 0-49 in 2012
- Americas: 6 million women, 5 million men
- Africa: 17 million women, 18 million men
- Eastern Mediterranean: 6 million women, 7 million men
- Europe: 5 million women, 5 million menSouth-East Asia: 13 million women, 14 million men
- South-East Asia: 13 million women, 14 million men
- Western Pacific: 11 million women, 12 million men
Herpes is not fatal, but it is damaging to mental health, physical comfort and relationships. WHO is more determined than ever to find a remedy for those stricken with the STD. “Given the lack of a permanent and curative treatment for both HSV-1 and HSV-2, WHO and partners are working to accelerate development of HSV vaccines and topical microbicides, which will have a crucial role in preventing these infections in the future,” the report reads. “Several candidate vaccines and microbicides are currently being studied.”